Construction: Index points to faster growth

The construction sector grew faster than expected in May and added jobs for the first time in nearly a year, offering a chink of light in what has become a generally sombre outlook for the economy.

The Markit/Cips PMI index for the construction sector rose to 54 in May from 53.3 in April, beating forecasts for a reading of 53.6.

Economists said the figures suggested the sector grew in the second quarter and that it fared better between January and March than the 4 per cent decline reported by official data. Businesses were also their most optimistic in a year about future activity. However, government spending cuts and fragile house prices are likely to drag on home and infrastructure projects.

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