November Construction PMI Reading
49.3, down from October's 50.9. Lowest level since August.
- Future business confidence lowest for four years.
- Sharpest new orders decline since April 2009.
- Six consecutive months of falling new order volumes.
- Fastest rate of decline in sector employment since December 2010.
Today brings more bad news for the construction sector, which has been in free-fall since the end of 2011 when the industry's collapsing output dragged the economy down into a double dip recession.
A significant reduction in business coming from the public sector, amid the government's austerity programme as it seeks to reduce its budget deficit, has hammered construction firms.
However, there may be light at the end of the tunnel with a fresh focus on infrastructure projects as a means to pull the British economy out of its downturn, such as the Treasury's £40bn scheme to guarantee the finances of nationally significant projects in the hope it stimulates activity.
Tim Moore, senior economist at Markit and author of the Markit/CIPS Construction PMI, said:
"A protracted decline in workloads, the double-dip UK recession and shrinking investment spending has made 2012 a year to forget for the construction sector.
"November's PMI survey suggests that construction output has yet to hit rock bottom. This was highlighted by new work dropping at the fastest pace for around three-and-a-half years, while signs of a greater squeeze on client's budgets for 2013 brought confidence to its weakest since the record lows of late-2008.
"Adding to the signs that construction firms are fearing a prolonged period of depressed demand, employment fell again in November, and at the steepest pace for almost two years."
Purchasing managers index (PMI) surveys are carried out by Markit Economics and the Chartered Institute for Purchase & Supply (CIPS).
Each month purchasing managers across private UK firms are surveyed to give an indication of business activity in the service, manufacturing and construction sectors.
On the index, neutral output activity is 50.
Any reading above represents expansion, while under signifies contraction.