The past few months have proved a turbulent time for the construction industry - a situation that continued as 2015 got underway. Results of the January Australian Industry Group/Housing Industry Association Australian Performance of Construction Index (Australian PCI) show the sector continued to contract, registering an overall reading of 45.9 points.
This is the third consecutive month in which the index has been below the 50-point level. All four sub-sectors assessed for the Australian PCI had declined compared to the previous month.
Director of Public Policy at the Australian Industry Group Peter Burn explained that residential construction first started to struggle at the end of 2014. This has now continued into the new year, with both house and apartment building starting to ease.
"This, combined with the well-entrenched contraction in engineering construction and a commercial construction sector that remained in negative territory, saw overall construction activity fall for the third consecutive month," noted Mr Burn.
Predictions from Master Builders Australia recently indicated that a construction boom may be looming across the nation. The Master Builders Australia National Survey of Building and Construction showed that hiring intentions were up during the three months to December, bringing them to the highest level seen since the global financial crisis.
Chief Economist of the Housing Industry Association Harley Dale said it would be necessary to see what results February brings before any firm forecasts can be made. However, the impact of the recent 0.25 per cent cash rate cut could bring the sector the relief it needs.
There are also hopes that this will deliver the boost to business and consumer confidence that the country's economy needs in order to thrive.
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