UK construction sees –11% fall

By Chris Sleight09 March 2010

New figures from the UK's Office of National Statistics (ONS) shows construction output fell -11% in 2009. According to the Construction Products Association, this was the biggest year-on-year fall since 1974.

Commenting on the figures, Construction Products Association chief executive Michael Ankers said, "Today's figures illustrate the dramatic impact of the recession on the construction industry in which some experts estimate up to half a million jobs have been lost over the last two years.

"The only thing that has prevented the industry from suffering an even more dramatic downturn has been the continued high level of public spending on construction, which grew by +8% in 2009, compared with a collapse of -20% in spending by the private sector."

The Association is forecasting another -3% decline in construction output this year. The private sector is again expected to be particularly weak, with a -13% drop in construction investment.

Mr Ankers added, "On this basis, by the end of 2010 the industry will have fallen by GB£ 18 million (€ 20 billion) from its peak in mid-2008, a more rapid decline than in the recession in the mid-1970s."

The last time year-on-year construction output fell as dramatically as last year was 1974. This was a period of high inflation and trade union unrest which saw the government impose a three-day working week in a bid to conserve electricity.

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