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ONS figures contrary to industry surveys

Construction forecast

Construction Products Association says official output figures likely to be revised upwards

OFFICE for National Statistics (ONS) figures published today show that construction output in March fell by 3.6% month-on-month and by 4.5% compared with one year earlier. In addition, the data report that construction output in the first quarter of 2016 as a whole was 1.1% lower than in the fourth quarter of 2015 and 1.9% lower than one year ago.

However, the Construction Products Association claims the figures do not represent the true picture and are likely be revised upwards.


Professor Noble Francis, economics director at the Construction Products Association, commented: ‘Contrary to today’s report, all other surveys of activity across the entire construction industry supply chain, from the largest contractors to the smallest SMEs, have reported an increase in activity during the first quarter of the year compared with the previous quarter and the previous year, albeit at a slower rate than previously.

‘It is disappointing to see that the ONS construction output data do not currently reflect this, but we anticipate that ONS data will be revised upwards, as has happened previously.’

At this time last year, the ONS reported that output declined 1.1% in the first quarter of 2015 and declined by 0.3% on an annual basis. Following later data revisions, however, ONS reported that construction output actually increased 1.9% in the first quarter of 2015 and rose 6.2% year on year.

‘Significant revisions to ONS’s construction output may occur due to late data returns, revisions to output price deflators and seasonal adjustment,’ said Prof. Francis. ‘In addition, the ONS has also stated in its release today that the timing of Easter means that March’s construction output data will be subject to larger than normal data revisions.’


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