The sales from companies operating in the UK construction sector grew in Q1 2017 by 38% as bad debts fell by 20%, according to figures released in the Creditsafe Watchdog Report, which tracks quarterly economic developments across the Construction and 11 other sectors.

The Creditsafe report showed that total sales across the Construction industry reached just over £380bn in Q1 2017, an increase of 38% from Q4 2016 where total sales stood at a little over £275bn. Figures also revealed that more than 16,000 new companies were established in the sector between January and March this year. This resulted in a 1% rise in employment numbers, with total jobs across the sector reaching 863,776 in Q1 2017.

In further good news for the Construction sector, the volume of bad debt (money owed that is unlikely to be paid and therefore treated as loss) owed to businesses within the industry fell by 20% to just over £17m. Meanwhile, companies operating within the sector also improved their own payment practices, with the level of bad debt owed by the sector falling by 4% to a little over £89m.

Rachel Mainwaring, operations director at Creditsafe, said: “Figures in today’s Creditsafe Watchdog Report are highly optimistic for the construction industry. Business confidence across the sector remains reassuring despite the downturn of Brexit and shows strong indication that the construction industry will continue to build in stability and growth in the next quarter and throughout the year.”

Creditsafe’s research also revealed the risk level of insolvency for businesses operating within the construction sector. Of the 336,655 currently active companies, 9% (29,379) are classified as being at Very High or High risk.