Construction orders fall for the first time in more than three years

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For the first time in more than three years British construction orders fell amidst concerns over the vote for the EU…

New figures have revealed construction orders fell last month for the first time in more than three years. Concerns over the outcome of the EU referendum have reportedly put a hold on a number of new projects.

The data, which was compiled in the latest Markit PMI, showed the weakest overall growth in activity since June 2012. Headline construction figures reportedly dropped from 52.0 in April to 51.2 in May.

New orders saw a substantial drop, falling from 50.1 to 48.1. This is the first time since April 2013 that the figure has fallen below the 50-mark. Anything above this number denotes growth.

Markit economist Tim Moore said: “Survey respondents noted that the forthcoming EU referendum has disrupted new order flows and the timing of client decision-making in particular.”

According to Markit, civil engineering projects were at the bottom, showing the least amount of activity, with housebuilding and commercial construction on its heels. However, companies had increased staff numbers at the fastest rate since January, representing the largest divergence between orders and staffing trends since the survey began in 1997.

Moore said: “An optimistic interpretation is that construction firms are looking through the second-quarter weakness and feel that workloads will recover momentum.

“However, should this fail to materialize later in 2016, then job creation is likely to come under pressure given its elevated trend relative to current demand patterns,” he added.

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