Record fall in UK construction

By Chris Sleight10 June 2009

Construction output in the UK fell -16% in the first quarter of the year, compared to the same period in 2008. This was the sharpest quarterly fall on record.

Data from the UK's Office of National Statistics (ONS) showed the biggest fall was in the industrial new build sector, which was down -40% compared to a year ago. Even more worrying was the level of new orders in the sector, which was down -62%.

These falls were much steeper than the impact on commercial construction in general, which was down -26%, although new orders were also hard hit, with a -55% drop.

The residential sector continued to suffer, with public house building down -12% in the first quarter. There was also an impact on repair & maintenance in the residential sector, with a fall of -10% being seen in the privately segment of the market.

Another blow to the industry was the -5% fall in infrastructure construction, a sector that was expected to provide some respite.

Commenting on the figures, Noble Francis, economics director of the construction products association said, "These figures confirm the seriousness of the downturn that is facing the industry. A large number of jobs has already been lost and there is clearly a lot of pain still to be had."

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