July's PMI heavily relied on growth in commercial activity to pull figures above the 50 mark. However, last month the commercial sector joined the housing and civil engineering sectors in contraction - declining for the first time in two and a half years.
There were last minute high hopes that construction would see another month of growth, following a surprisingly strong rebound in the manufacturing PMI earlier this week. Instead, we saw the fastest drop in new orders since April 2009
Senior economist, Tim Moore, said: “August data reaffirms that UK construction firms are suffering a prolonged downturn in new work and there is little evidence to suggest an imminent rebound in output levels. This has been the pertinent message from the UK Construction PMI surveys throughout the summer, and most worryingly the latest drop in new orders was the fastest since the sector was in full scale retreat in early 2009."
All eyes are now keenly on the government to increase public infrastructure spending - something they have so far shied away from, in efforts to a tackle the huge budget deficit.