Larger leap in construction output

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BRITISH construction output grew more in the last three months of 2012 than first thought, pointing to a very minor boost to overall economic output, but there was an unusually sharp drop in activity in December.

Big falls in construction output were a major factor behind Britain’s recession in late 2011 and the first half of 2012, and the country slipped back into contraction in the last three months of 2012, raising fears of a triple-dip recession.

Construction output rose 0.9 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2012, the first increase since the second quarter of 2011 and faster than the 0.3 per cent rise assumed in preliminary gross domestic product calculations, the Office for National Statistics said. However, there was less encouraging news from non-seasonally adjusted construction output figures for December released at the same time.

These showed a 16.2 per cent decline on the month and a 15.1 per cent decline on the year in construction output – bigger falls than would normally be expec-ted.