The construction industry contracted for the 17th month in a row during October, but at a slower pace, according to a survey.
The Australian Industry Group (AIG) Performance of Construction Index, in conjunction with the Housing Industry Association, rose 4.7 points to 34.7. A reading under 50 means contraction, while over 50 indicates expansion.
Among the four sub-sectors, the house building index increased 9.2 points to 33.3, the apartment building index rose by 4.6 points to 25.6, the commercial construction index was up 5.5 points to 31.3 and the engineering construction index gained 2.5 points to 44.1.
"The ongoing weakness in the construction sector, most notably in the housing, apartment and commercial construction sub-sectors, continues to hold back overall economic activity and in particular activity in those industries, such as manufacturing, with close links to construction," says AIG director of public policy Peter Burn.
"The easing of the pace of decline in overall construction activity and the turnaround in the Australian PCI new orders sub-index after a steepening pace of decline over the year to date, is somewhat encouraging. While global economic uncertainties persist and domestic confidence is yet to bounce back, the Reserve Bank's decision last week to reduce interest rates could help build the momentum towards recovery in the sector over coming months."
The new-orders sub-index rose eight points to 31.9 in October.