The UK construction sector contracted for the 22nd month in December on subdued demand, the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS)/ Markit construction Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) revealed yesterday.
The PMI rose to 47.1 last month, up from November's reading of 47. Any number below 50 indicates a fall in activity.
Although both commercial and civil engineering businesses saw further declines in activity during December, house building increased for the fourth successive month and at its fastest rate since August 2007.
David Noble, CIPS's chief executive, said: "December was another disappointing month for the UK construction sector. Unlike other parts of the economy, it seems unable to escape the shackles of the recession, as it entered its 22nd successive month of decline.
"Purchasing managers painted a bleak picture as firms suffered from reduced client demand and falls in new business. As a result, contractors are competing aggressively to secure the relatively fewer new contract tenders there are in the market."
Construction firms continued to shed jobs in December as work dried up. CIPS said many construction companies reported they were still restructuring their operations in line with lower workloads.