LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s construction sector grew at the slowest pace in six months in September and companies turned less confident as Brexit neared, a survey showed on Tuesday.
Data firm IHS Markit’s purchasing managers’ index for the construction industry dropped to 52.1 from 52.9 in August, below a median forecast of 52.5 in a Reuters poll of economists.
There were some positive signs such as the strongest new orders since December 2016 and the fastest employment growth since December 2015, boosted by trainees and apprentices.
But a measure of confidence was the second-lowest since February 2013 with companies citing uncertainty about Brexit.
“Construction companies continued to note that political uncertainty acted as a key drag on decision-making, with Brexit worries encouraging a wait-and-see approach to spending among clients,” Tim Moore, associate director at IHS Markit, said.
Markit’s manufacturing PMI, published on Monday, showed a pick-up in activity among factories. Figures for the much larger services sector are released on Wednesday.
Britain’s economy has slowed since the June 2016 Brexit vote and many companies have expressed concern about the risk of disruption if Britain leaves the EU in March without a deal.
The construction PMI survey showed widespread capacity shortages remained although the time taken by suppliers to deliver building materials narrowed slightly after hitting their longest in three-and-a-half years in August.
Input prices rose at the fastest pace in three months.
Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by Toby Chopra; firstname.lastname@example.org; +44 20 7542 5109; Reuters Messaging: email@example.com