The weaker result for April was driven by a fall in the new orders sub-index, which fell by 6.2 points to 44.6 after recording a solid improvement in the previous month. April also saw a slightly steeper decline in industry activity in April (down 0.8 points to 48.3) and renewed contractions in employment (down 3.4 points to 46.6) and deliveries from suppliers (down 1.1 points to 49.5).

By sector, house building expanded for a second month, although its rate of growth weakened from the five-month high reached in March (down 4.2 points to 51.6), and activity in the apartment building sector turned negative for the first time in three months (down 5.2 points to 49.7). Mining-related engineering…