Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) indicate that construction output in the UK has experienced its biggest decline since August 2012, reinforcing concerns that economic growth in the first quarter has been sluggish.
The ONS figures show that construction output has declined by 2.7% in the three months to March. This result signified the biggest reduction on a three-month basis since 2012 and was driven by lower levels of repair and maintenance as well as new construction.
Viewed on a month-to-month basis, construction output went down 2.3% in March.
According to the ONS, some survey respondents were affected by snowy weather in February and March, although the exact impact on the industry was difficult to quantify.
Figures also suggested that in March manufacturing fell by 0.1% compared to February. Total production in the UK, however, rose by the same amount month-on-month due to greater energy demand during the snowy weather.
The Index of Production increased by 0.6% compared to the three months to December of last year, primarily due to a 2.5% increase in energy supply over the same period.
Rob Kent-Smith, head of national accounts at ONS, said that the figures confirmed earlier estimates indicating that the economy was slow during the first quarter of 2018. He stated that during the first quarter, manufacturing was flat overall after several months of growth. Both domestic and international sales slowed down although there was no evidence that severe weather affected UK factory production.