Eurozone construction output dropped in May as Germany and France reported slowing activity in the industry sector that accounts for nearly a 10th of the economic bloc's gross domestic product.
While manufacturing and services sectors have reported robust growth this year, the construction sector has now reported its second contraction in three months.
Output falls in May
Construction output fell 0.7% in May after gaining 0.3% in April, leaving annualised output growth at 2.6%, down from 3.3% in April.
Eurostat, the European Union's statistical office, said the dip in output was due to activity in civil engineering falling by 0.9% and building construction decreasing by 0.6%.
Germany, France and Spain all reported slowing activity, while Italy – the bloc's third largest economy – reported one of the highest increases in output, growing 2.7%. Only Hungary, up 7.6%, and Bulgaria, up 3.6%, reported stronger output.
Construction PMI growth
More recently, however, purchasing manager survey data have indicated a strong uptick in construction activity.
German construction PMI for June showed strong growth in activity. New orders received by German construction firms rose for an eighth successive month, although the rate of expansion slowed.
Claus Vistesen at Pantheon Macroeconomics said that the upturn in eurozone construction was looking increasingly resilient and broad-based.
"Construction investment outside Germany is finally starting to show signs of life after a period of hibernation stretching back to the financial crisis," he said.
He added: "Construction capex is now growing again in France, Italy and Spain for the first since before the 2008 crash."
Earlier this month, IHS Markit's composite PMI, which includes manufacturing, services and construction survey data, showed the eurozone economy enjoyed its best quarter for more than six years during the second three months.
"All four of the largest euro nations are reporting faster growth in the second quarter as a whole, adding to the picture of an increasingly self-sustaining recovery amid rising domestic demand in the single currency area," said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit.
The data come ahead of the European Central Bank's rate setting meeting on Thursday at which its main refinancing rate is expected to remain on hold at 0%.