Government figures show redundancies in final quarter of 2008 rose 50% on previous period

The UK construction industry was hit by 48,000 redundancies in the three months to December, government figures released today show.

Data from the Office for National Statistics showed a rise in industry job cuts of more than 50% on the previous quarter, when 31,000 people lost their roles.

The figure was almost five times higher than the same three-month period in 2007, when there were 10,000 redundancies.

Construction suffered some of the deepest cuts over the period, though manufacturing industries, finance and business services and distribution, hotels and restaurants all fared worse.

However, the overall construction workforce actually grew in the first nine months of 2008, according to the statistics. In September last year, there were 2,282,000 workers in the industry, compared with 2,237,000 at the end of 2007.