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Output grows in construction sector

The British construction sector enjoyed a slight boost in the three months to October, with figures from the Office for National Statistics suggesting that output in the industry grew by 8.3 per cent.

Furthermore, the volume of infrastructure work jumped by 19.8 per cent compared to the previous three months, while public housing repair and maintenance grew by 4.7 per cent on a yearly basis.

While the figures do not hide the fact that the sector continues to struggle somewhat, with the total volume of construction down by 5.1 per cent compared to October 2011, this nevertheless indicates that the market's turmoil could be coming to an end.

Philip Shaw of Investec Economics told the Guardian that he considers this to be a more realistic picture of where the market is at than older, more negative reports.

"They are more in line with our perception of what is going on in the sector. We had a broad view that construction has been under-recorded," the expert explained.

He added that this suggests the full-year figures could end up looking more positive for the industry as a whole, buoying the UK economy and those working in the building sector.

However, Mr Shaw admitted that creating accurate statistics for construction is a notoriously difficult task.

"You've got a lot of small traders you may or may not capture. The phenomenon of work in progress you have to measure as well," he explained.

Howard Archer of IHS Global Insight added that the construction industry has the potential to help the UK's GDP over the coming months if it is able to emerge from its period of contraction and perform strongly.

Figures compiled as part of the latest Knight Frank Global House Price Index recently suggested that the property market across Europe remains relatively depressed. 

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