Construction’s Tale of Two Quarters
The latest data release from the ONS, published recently, shows that construction output rose 0.9% in the second quarter. This follows a 0.8% fall in Q1, in which activity was disrupted by severe weather conditions. Compared to a year earlier, output increased 0.8% and quarterly industry output has returned to £40.9 billion, matching the level recorded at the end of 2017.
Rebecca Larkin, senior economist at the Construction Products Association, commented: “As expected, construction has caught up from its troubled start to the year, with strong growth in May and June as the warmer weather improved ground conditions for sites that stalled during February and March. The industry’s catch-up also helped drive the pickup in Q2 GDP growth to 0.4%.
“As much as it has been a tale of two quarters, there has also been a divergence by type of work. New build activity was unchanged from Q1 and was 0.4% lower than 2017 Q4, as rises in public housing, infrastructure and industrial output were offset by falls in private housing and public sector work. However, all repair and maintenance (R&M) activity rose 2.7% to a record high of £14.2 billion and is now 0.8% higher than at the end of 2017.”