The Australian construction industry has shrunk for the 37th consecutive month, but rate of decline is slowing.
The Australian Industry Group/Housing Industry Association’s Performance of Construction Index improved by 4.2 points to 39.5 in June.
Readings below 50 indicate that the industry is shrinking. June’s PCI was the highest since February and the second highest since January 2012.
Construction activity improved, with the industry’s rate of capacity utilisation rising to 68% in June from an 8-month low of 65% the previous month.
The apartment construction sector improved to its best rate since August 2010, although the sector was still shrinking, with an index reading of 47.1.
House building and commercial construction activity also improved, while engineering construction activity fell due to a weakening resources sector.
AiG director of public policy Peter Burn said the June data showed “early signs of a rebalancing”, with improvements in residential and commercial sectors offsetting a further decline in engineering construction.
Employment levels fell in June, due to “insufficient workloads and attempts to reduce costs”, the AiG reported.
HIA chief economist Harvey Dale said the June data was “encouraging”, but “the industry has a long way to go before we are back in expansion mode”.
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