New private commercial construction orders surge ahead

A number of large orders in February helped new construction orders in the private commercial sector surge ahead by 36% compared with the previous three months, according to the latest figures from the Department of Trade & Industry. The surge in activity also put new construction orders in this sector 17% higher than the same period a year earlier. However, the turnaround came too late to prevent private commercial orders in the year to February being 11% lower than the previous year. Private industrial orders for the year were 5% higher than the previous year. Orders for the three months to February 2004 fell by 23% compared to the previous three months, but were 6% higher than the same period a year earlier. The private housing market grew on all three measures. Orders for the three months to February 2004 were 9% higher than for the previous three months and 2% higher than the same period a year earlier. Year-on-year growth was 3%. Public housing and housing association orders for the year were 18% higher than the previous year, but orders for the three months to February fell back by 6% compared to the previous three months. They were, however, 5% higher than the same period a year earlier. Comparisons in this sector are affected by large variations due to its relatively small size. All figures are seasonally adjusted and at constant (2000) prices.



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