Snow was partly guilty for a pointy decline within the development business in February, new figures present.
The sector shrank by three% in comparison with the identical month final 12 months, the largest such fall for almost 5 years, in accordance with the Workplace for Nationwide Statistics.
Manufacturing additionally suffered an surprising drop in output for the primary time in nearly a 12 months – falling by zero.2% month on month in February – fuelling fears of a slowdown within the wider financial system.
The ONS mentioned the decline in development might be partially defined by the current excessive climate after some corporations reported the “impact of the snow on their companies within the last week of February”.
Nevertheless it mentioned the drop was pushed predominantly by the continued decline in restore and upkeep work.
Economists had anticipated development output to bounce again in February – after a three.1% plunge in output throughout January.
Development makes up about 6% of British financial output.
The Financial institution of England warned final month that its early estimates of the impression of the chilly snap from the Beast from the East – which introduced the nation to a standstill – pointed to an financial development slowdown to zero.three% within the first quarter.
Nevertheless it confused the impact was “prone to be momentary”.
Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, mentioned that whereas the climate took its toll, the development sector downturn “started a very long time earlier than the snow hit”.
Final week, separate knowledge from the Markit/CIPS UK Development Buying Managers’ Index additionally confirmed a marked slowdown in constuction development from 51.four in February to 47 in March. A studying above 50 represents development.
Housebuilding elevated barely however different sectors suffered, with civil engineering experiencing its sharpest downturn in 5 years and industrial work seeing its greatest drop in 9 years.