The UK construction sector contracted at the steepest rate since April 2009 reflecting the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, survey data from IHS Markit and Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply showed Monday.
The construction Purchasing Managers' Index dropped to 39.3 in March from 52.6 in February. A score below 50 indicates contraction. The expected reading was 44.0. Respondents overwhelmingly attributed reduced activity to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The survey showed that all three broad categories of construction work recorded a fall in output in March. Civil engineering activity posted the steepest rate of decline, followed closely by commercial building work. Residential activity dropped at a comparatively moderate pace in March.
As measures to contain the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic were put in place across the UK, construction sites closed and builders lost their jobs on a frightening scale as overall activity fell to an extent not seen since April 2009, Duncan Brock, Group Director at the CIPS, said.