Construction output dips in January

In January 2017, construction output fell by 0.4% compared with December 2016. This negative month-on-month growth comes in the wake of two consecutive months of strong growth in the last two months of 2016, driven mainly by falls in repair and maintenance. Despite this, construction remains 2% higher in comparison with the same period in the previous year.

Despite construction falling month-on-month, in terms of a rolling three-month time series, construction output actually grew by 1.8%, in part due to strong infrastructure and housing growth.

Through to mid-2014, new work, and repair and maintenance followed a similar pattern but since reaching a level peak in August 2014, repair and maintenance has slowly contracted. Over the same period, new work has continued to increase steadily, largely down to a rise in new housing work.

The slight decrease in all work in January 2017 is mainly driven by the large decline in repair and maintenance of 1.3%. In comparison with the same period in the previous year, repair and maintenance has fallen 0.7%. This downward pressure on repair and maintenance is due to a 1.1% decrease in housing repair and maintenance and 1.6% decrease in non-housing repair and maintenance.

This fall is offset somewhat by an increase of 0.1% in all new work in January 2017 and 3.4% in comparison with the same period in the previous year. It is worth noting that all new work accounts for approximately 66% of all work, while repair and maintenance accounts for approximately 34%.

Despite falling month-on-month in January 2017, the three month on three month rolling picture was more positive, with only private industrial, and non-housing repair and maintenance experiencing negative growth.

Most notably, infrastructure, and private housing repair and maintenance continue to sustain strong three-month on three-month growth, increasing at rates of 4.0% and 5.4% respectively. Only private industrial work, and non-housing repair and maintenance provided downward pressure on three-month on three-month growth.

In regards to month-on-year, output has experienced strong growth at a rate of 2.0%. This has been driven by private new housing, which grew 7.4%, as well as private housing repair and maintenance, which increased by 9.7%.

However, public housing provided some downward pressure on the growth rate, with public new housing falling 1.2% and public housing repair and maintenance falling by 13.1%. Despite recent growth, infrastructure has still fallen for the 13th consecutive month-on-year, at a rate of 0.7%.

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