The Markit/CIPS Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index for May showed workloads rising for the third month in succession.
Economist Sarah Ledger said: “It was encouraging to see growth within the UK construction sector maintained during May, with all three sub-sectors (housing, commercial and civil) indicating an expansion in activity.
“However, it is unlikely that the current rate of growth will be maintained over the medium-term. This partly reflects the low base from which expansion is being built, but also the uncertainty surrounding cuts in public spending.
“Importantly, staffing levels were reported to have risen for the first time in two years during May. Whilst in absolute terms pre-recession employment levels are a long way off, this indicates that increased activity is having an overall expansionary effect on the industry.”
David Noble, Chief Executive Officer at the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply, said: “It really is a double edged sword for the UK construction sector at the moment.
“Purchasing managers say that on the surface things are looking positive with recent growth accelerating and more jobs on the horizon.
“However, the recovery is so fragile that it will be extremely vulnerable to the impending public sector cuts and it is unclear whether the recovery is robust enough to cope with such knock backs.
“Civil engineering is a clear case in point. It has only just started to grow for the first time in two years, and is an industry where public spending tends to be focused.
“The cuts are clearly coming and it’s not long before we will start to see them making their mark.
“What is clear is that recovery in construction is creating a ripple effect across the economy as firms supplying the industry benefit from increased purchasing activity.
“But ongoing inflation challenges reflect global uncertainties for certain commodities and remind us how much the sector is shaped by the global economy.”