• Prior 54.6

This marks just a marginal rise in construction activity, with civil engineering being the best-performing category. Residential building work fell once again, marking a fourth straight monthly decline and that weighed on housing activity. S&P Global notes that:

"UK construction companies experienced a sustained rebound in output levels during March as work on civil engineering and commercial projects picked up for the second month running. Improved tender opportunities were also reflected in an upturn in new orders since February and the strongest rate of job creation for five months.

"A sharp and accelerated decline in house building was the main area of concern in March. Cutbacks to new residential projects in the wake of subdued demand and rising interest rates contributed to the sharpest fall in housing activity across the construction sector for almost three years.

"Despite worries about the near-term outlook for housing activity, expectations for total construction output during the year ahead were relatively upbeat in March. Growth projections were boosted by the fastest improvement in suppliers' delivery times for more than a decade. Survey respondents often cited improved availability of construction inputs and subsequent hopes that purchasing price inflation would moderate in the months ahead."