British construction growth slowed sharply in April.
Growth in Britain’s construction industry slowed sharply in April as companies put off decisions ahead of this week’s national election, but confidence remained high and hinted at a post-election pickup, a survey showed.
The monthly Markit/CIPS UK construction purchasing managers’ index (PMI) fell to 54.2 last month, its lowest level in 22 months and down from 57.8 in March.
The index was below all forecasts in a Reuters poll and followed a similarly weak reading of Britain’s manufacturing sector in April.
Britain’s overall economic growth slowed sharply in the first three months of this year, data showed last week, a setback for prime minister David Cameron who has staked his campaign for re-election on the strength of the recovery.
Economists, however, have said the first-quarter GDP weakness would probably prove to be a blip and the economy would pick up.
A survey of Britain’s dominant services sector, due to be published on Wednesday, will give an idea of the breadth of the slowdown at the start of the second quarter of 2015.
Markit said there were signs of construction companies delaying spending decisions ahead of the May 7th election. But while confidence dipped from a nine-year high in March, employment in the sector grew a touch, a sign that companies expected business to recover soon.
The availability of sub-contractors fell sharply again, pushing up their charges by the steepest amount since the survey began 18 years ago.