Construction activity expanded last month at a slightly slower pace than in October, but created jobs at the fastest pace in nearly four years, a survey showed on Friday.

The Markit/CIPS construction PMI headline activity index edged down to 52.3 in November from 53.9 in October, a little above expectations for a fall to 52.0.

Construction companies pulled in more new business, with bigger workloads leading to an increase in hiring. Job growth was modest but still the strongest since March 2008.

Firms' confidence about the future also improved, and many expected activity to increase over the next 12 months, although worries over clients' spending decisions dampened optimism.

The ongoing expansion suggests that the sector may provide a positive contribution to economic growth in the fourth quarter, said Markit economist Sarah Bingham.

The outlook for the sector remains challenging, with confidence over future activity levels still subdued... It will be interesting to see if the government's infrastructure plans, announced in the autumn statement, will lift construction industry confidence from its current low level.

The relatively small construction sector is faring better than its bigger peer manufacturing, which shrank for a second successive month in November and at its fastest pace since June 2009, fuelling fears that Britain faces another recession.

The latest survey also showed that, after five months of contraction, house-building rose. Commercial construction also increased, while civil engineering output was broadly flat.

(Reporting by Olesya Dmitracova)