Politics 4 February 2013 UK construction contracts for third month running Sector posts continued decline. Sign up for our weekly email * Print HTML The UK construction PMI, released today, indicates moderate contraction in that sector for the third month in a row. The rate of contraction (represented by an index of 48.7, where 50 means no change) was unchanged from December. Commenting on the report, David Noble, CEO of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply which co-publishes the report with Markit economics, said: Snow compounded difficult economic conditions to ensure the construction sector’s winter blues continued into January. Yet against expectations, businesses have a spring in their step looking ahead to 2013. This new-found confidence has been buoyed by news of public investment, but it could be found wanting, if the Government’s recent rhetoric on major infrastructure projects fails to bear fruit. The construction sector is a relatively small section of the UK's overall output, but a key enabler of growth in other sectors. Its continued depression will likely have second-order effects, acting as a dampener on the rate of expansion in the more economically crucial sectors like services and manufacturing. Additionally, the report highlights the continued contraction in housing construction as one of the drivers of the sector's weakness. With housebuilding a perennial political issue, the news indicates that measures to prop it up are yet to have the desired impact — although, with the rate of contraction slowing somewhat, the news is not as dire as it could have been. › Osborne's ring fence will be made of cheese wire Construction, as she is played. Photograph: Getty Images Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter. Subscribe from just £1 per issue More Related articles The 5 things the Tories aren't telling you about their manifesto Taking back control... in the workplace John McDonnell wants to defend pensioners - but will they return the favour?