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New orders in Britain’s construction industry bounced back in the first three months of this year, although not by enough to offset the sharp fall at the end of 2011, official data on Friday showed.
The Office for National Statistics said that new orders – a forward-looking indicator that does not take account of work actually undertaken – rose by 4.6 per cent in the January to March period.
This is equal to £11bn when seasonal adjustments and inflation are taken into account.
Construction orders do not form part of the calculation for gross domestic product.
However, the value of orders in the fourth quarter of 2011 was revised downward and now shows a decline from the previous quarter of 5.2 per cent to £10.5bn, instead of the £11bn initially reported.
Private commercial work saw a surge of orders, with the value of new contracts rising to £3.6bn from £2.8bn, while orders for private industrial construction, at £738m, rose to their best level since the fourth quarter of 2008.
However, other sectors, such as private housing construction, showed a continued decline.
Meanwhile, cuts in public spending appear to be weighing on the construction industry; new orders for public work, excluding infrastructure, at £1.7bn, fell to their lowest level since the fourth quarter of 1986