Thousands more construction jobs are at risk as the recession in the industry looks set to deepen, the Civil Engineering Contractors Association has warned

The body’s latest workload trends survey, which was published on Wednesday, indicated the civil engineering sector was entering a second downward plunge in spite of signs of recovery in the wider economy.

At –64%, the balance between those firms reporting increased workloads in the past year (8%) and reporting reduced workloads (72%) is the worst result in the survey’s 13-year history.

Expectations of future workloads have also significantly worsened since the survey was last conducted in July. Half of all firms now expect to have less work this time next year than they do now, with just 9% expecting larger order books.

A third of firms surveyed expect to reduce headcount in the coming year, while 42% say they anticipate cuts to the number of site operatives. Just 3% expect to take on new staff and 6% to hire operatives.

Rosemary Beales, national director of the CECA, said: “The Bank of England may think the worst is behind us, but this is clearly not the view of the civil engineering sector.”