The decline in the construction industry appears to have levelled off in January, with civil engineering recording its first year-on-year rise in contracts since last March.

Residential construction, stagnant since the intensification of the credit crunch in September, showed a record year-on-year decline of 44%.

Non-residential construction was down 23% on the year, but civil engineering rose 18% to 110.7, the first time the monthly Glenigan index has recorded a positive figure since last June.

Allen Wilen, analyst at Glenigan, said that the strength of civil engineering was helped by its access to public money at a time when private sources of finance were drying up.

Financial Times