UK construction output picks up, PMI suggests

House construction Image copyright PA
Image caption Housebuilding drove the increased activity in the construction sector, Markit said

Activity in the UK's construction sector picked up in January from a 17-month low in December, a closely-watched survey has suggested.

The Markit/CIPS purchasing managers' index (PMI) rose by more than expected to 59.1 from 57.6 a month earlier, driven by residential housebuilding. Any score above 50 represents growth.

However, job creation fell to its lowest level in 13 months.

The housebuilding sector has now grown continuously for two years.

January also saw a rebound in commercial construction and in civil engineering.

Input cost inflation also eased to its lowest rate in almost two years, largely due to falling energy and fuel prices.

"UK construction companies have found their feet again after a protracted slowdown in output growth at the end of 2014," said Markit's senior economist Tim Moore.

"In short, the peak speed of the construction recovery seems to be over, but reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated."

A PMI survey of the UK manufacturing sector published on Monday showed a modest increase in activity in January, to 53, from 52.7 the previous month.

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