Figures from the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) show new construction orders in December rose by 1% compared with a year earlier and orders in the fourth quarter as a whole were 2% up on the same quarter a year earlier and on the previous quarter of 2007.
Construction output for the coming year is forecast by the Construction Products Association to grow by just over 1% this year compared with 2.6% for the whole of last year. It says the industry expects to avoid recession but expects the growth rate to remain at 1% per annum through to 2012.
Commenting on these latest forecasts, the Association\'s Chief Executive, Michael Ankers, said: "The economic backdrop against which these forecasts have been prepared is more uncertain than for many years. There was a time when the construction industry was the first to suffer in such a situation. What we are seeing, however, is the fall in private housing - both new build and repair and maintenance - balanced by continued growth in the commercial sector on the back of major schemes that are already underway."