The UK construction sector contracted further in December, survey data from IHS Markit showed Friday.
The IHS Markit/Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply construction Purchasing Managers' Index fell unexpectedly to 44.4 in December from 45.3 in November. The reading was forecast to rise to 45.8.
A score below 50 indicates contraction. The index has remained below 50 for the eighth straight month.
The current period of falling business activity across the construction sector was the longest recorded by the survey for almost a decade.
Civil engineering was the worst-performing category of construction in December, with activity falling at the fastest pace since March 2009.
Data also revealed a sharp drop in commercial work, which was partly attributed to clients opting to postpone spending decisions ahead of the general election.
Meanwhile, house building dropped for the seventh straight month in December, but the rate of decline was only moderate.
Brexit uncertainty and spending delays ahead of the General Election were once again the most commonly cited factors highlighted by firms experiencing a drop in construction activity, Tim Moore, an economics associate director at IHS Markit, said.