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Construction activity edges towards record high, creating new jobs

New research has shown that output across the construction industry reached a six-year high last month, signalling positive news for tradesmen and apprentices in the sector.

The Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index revealed an uptick in the number of orders received by building firms across the UK, supporting the prediction of stronger economic growth for the near future.

The Index also showed that recruitment in the construction sector grew for the fourth month in a row, and also recorded its fastest rate of growth since before the credit crunch began.

A reading of 58.9 was posted in September, which was just below the six-year high of 59.1 that was recorded in August this year – a reading of 50 plus demonstrates expansion in the industry sector.

Markit told the Daily Mail that optimism about the year continued to strengthen across the construction sector, with firms considering expanding and taking on new staff members and apprentices. The level of confidence amongst firms in relation to future prospects is at its highest since April 2010, the Index confirmed.

More than five times as many expected to see a rise in output - 51 per cent – as those that expected to see a fall in output - 9 per cent, the Index continued.

While all three construction sector areas showed higher levels of business activity in September, residential construction was the strongest performer, clocking up the fastest rise in output since November 2003. This has been attributed in part to developers gaining confidence from the Government schemes including the Funding for Lending and Help to Buy schemes.

Senior economist at Markit, Tim Moore, told the newspaper: “Construction is no longer the weakest link in the UK economy. The third quarter of 2013 ended with output growth riding high amid greater spending on infrastructure projects and resurgent house building activity.

“September’s survey suggested that constructors are beginning to react with confidence to the more positive landscape for the sector, as job creation and input buying both rose at robust rates over the month,” he added.