Overall output within the UK’s construction sector accelerated at the fastest pace so far this year during April, according to the latest figures on the subject.
Data collected by researchers at IHS Markit suggests that businesses within the industry saw an upturn in new work last month and enough encouragement on the whole to increase rates of job creation.
Civil engineering activity was cited as being the best-performing sub-category of the construction sector during April, with the rate of expansion there apparently at levels not seen since March 2016.
Meanwhile, there was also improved performance and output levels in the context of residential house building, with growth there higher in April than at any point yet this year.
“April’s survey reveals a positive start to the second quarter of 2017, with a robust upturn in civil engineering activity helping to boost the construction industry,” said Tim Moore, IHS Markit’s senior economist.
“There were also more encouraging signs from the house building sector, as growth recovered to its strongest so far this year.”
Despite the apparent causes for optimism within the UK’s construction sector, there remain various potential sources of concern as well, not least input cost inflation, which continues to rise.
Although, IHS Markit’s latest report notes that the relative recovery of the value of the pound in recent weeks may be going some way towards limiting the impact of cost inflation on construction companies across the UK.
According to latest figures, employment growth among construction firms increased during April at its fastest pace since May 2016 but businesses in the sector have expressed concern at a lack of supply of highly-skilled professionals and sub-contractors.
This issue “must be addressed if the future strength of the sector is to be assured,” said Duncan Brock, from the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply, in a statement.
“The sector has proven to be resilient, so the UK government must take extra steps to ensure the general election does not knock the sector back into a period of uncertainty and uneven progression, as seen during the referendum months,” Mr Brock added.