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Construction output increases for fifth consecutive month

Monthly construction output grew 1.7% in volume terms in March 2022 compared with February 2022. This is the fifth consecutive month of growth and is the largest single-month growth since January 2022 (2.1%). Monthly construction output in March 2022 is now at its highest level (£14,944m) since monthly records began in January 2010 (Figure 1).

The stormy spells caused by storm Dudley, Eunice and Franklin brought heavy rain and winds across much of the country and, for the construction industry, lots of working days were lost during this time. However, demand continued to be strong and anecdotal evidence received from a number of businesses for March 2022 reported a positive impact because they picked up repair and maintenance work in March caused by the storm damage.

Figure 1: The monthly index shows the level of construction output grew to an all-time high in March 2022, with its fifth consecutive monthly increase

The monthly growth in March 2022, following that seen in January and February, has resulted in the quarterly all work index in Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2022 recovering to above its pre-coronavirus pandemic level (Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2019) for the first time (Figure 2 below).

Figure 2: The quarterly all work construction output index recovered above its pre-coronavirus pandemic level (Quarter 4 2019) for the first time in Quarter 1 2022

Figure 3: All work saw growth on both the month (1.7% in March 2022) and the quarter (3.8% in Quarter 1 2022)

Private housing repair and maintenance and private commercial new work were the largest contributors to the monthly increases, growing 5.8% (£121m) and 4.0% (£72m), respectively. Anecdotal evidence gathered over the month suggests the increases seen in private housing repair and maintenance resulted from businesses seeing a higher workload in March 2022. This higher workload was mostly repair work derived from the storms seen in the second half of February 2022.

Anecdotal evidence from businesses suggests the increase in March 2022 in private commercial came from an increase in offices. This is further shown in the new orders data, which is likely to be linked with an increasing number of refurbishments to office spaces taking place for employees returning to the office.

There was also a notable increase in the smaller sector of private industrial new work, which grew by 5.3% (£25m). This continued to be strong over the last year and came from an increase in warehouses and distribution centres where increases are believed to be linked to consumers change in shopping habits and online spending during the pandemic.

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