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The Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index posted 57.6 in December, down from 59.4 in November, but still above the long-term average (54.5) and the no-change position of 50.
Residential house building was the strongest performing sub-category, while civil engineering slipped into contraction for the first time in 17 months.
The rate of staff recruitment was above average in December but a number of firms reported worsening skills shortages, reflected in decreased subcontractor availability and increased pay for them.
More than half of firms predicted a rise in business activity during 2015, against 13 per cent who forecast a reduction, but uncertainty over this year's general election weighed on confidence.
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