Britain’s construction rebound since lockdown restrictions eased has already begun to slow amid a shortage of new work, new figures suggest.
A bellwether survey of construction chiefs showed continued expansion of work in August but at a lower rate than the previous month, when analysts had expected momentum to keep growing.
Firms have been buoyed by not only Britain’s housing mini-boom, but also pent-up demand, the reopening of building sites and supply chains, and the easing of lockdown in most of the country.
Last month’s figures had shown the fastest rebound in activity in five months.
But job cuts have continued for a 17th month in a row. Industry leaders highlighted worries over levels of new work as a backlog of delayed projects are completed and pressure on margins.
The headline figure on a purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for the sector came in at 54.6 last month, down from a strong 58.1 in July.
Figures above 50 suggest most firms are growing, and below 50 shows a decline. The closely watched index is based on a survey carried out by data providers IHS Markit and the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS).
"The latest PMI data signalled a setback for the UK construction sector as the speed of recovery lost momentum for the first time since the reopening phase began in May," said Tim Moore, economics director at IHS Markit.