Source - SMW
The balance of construction firms expecting an increase in business activity over the next 12 months eased to its weakest since December 2012 in October.

This caution meant employment numbers increased at one of the slowest rates seen over the past four years.

Output growth was largely confined to house building, which partly offset lower volumes of civil engineering and commercial activity. 

At 50.8 in October, up from 48.1 in September, the seasonally adjusted IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction PMI moved back above the 50.0 no-change mark. 

However, the latest reading was weaker than the post-crisis trend (54.7) and signalled only a marginal rise in overall construction output.

Commercial building decreased for the fourth month running in October, which survey respondents linked to worries about the UK economic outlook and subsequent delays to decision-making among clients. 

Civil engineering was the worst performing sub-category, with some firms citing a lack of big ticket infrastructure projects to replace completed contracts. 

A solid increase in residential building work underpinned the slight upturn in overall construction output during October. 

The latest rise in housing activity was faster than in September, but still subdued in comparison to the average for 2017 to date. 

October data pointed to a marginal increase in new work across the construction sector, thereby ending a three-month period of decline. However, the rate of new order growth remained weaker than recorded at any time from mid-2013 to early last year. Survey respondents generally cited fragile client demand.