Construction firms fail to seize the day

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FIRMS built less in May despite having an extra working day, official data showed yesterday.

Construction output dropped 6.3 per cent in the month, non-seasonably adjusted data from the Office for National Statistics showed. Firms failed to benefit from the fact that a public holiday usually held at the end of May was postponed until June, with another day added, to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

“As such, caution should be taken when interpreting the monthly movements in affected outputs involving May and June 2012,” the ONS said.

Between March and May construction output fell 7.4 per cent compared to the same three months in 2011, with the main drag coming from new public housing work, which plunged by 22.9 per cent. Construction activity fell at its fastest pace in two-and-a-half years in June, a Purchasing Managers’ Survey showed earlier this month, as underlying business conditions worsened and the extra public holiday hit output.