ONS revises down construction output for last three months of 2014


The ONS has said construction output fell faster in the fourth quarter 2014 than its initial estimate suggested.

According to the latest figures, construction output declined 2.1% in the fourth quarter of 2014 compared to the previous quarter.

The latest output figure represents a downward revision of 0.3% on the ONS’s previous estimate of a 1.8% decline for the period published last month.

Despite the downward revision, fourth quarter output was still 4.8% up on the same period the previous year - the sixth period of annual quarter-on-quarter growth.

The ONS also published its first full estimate of output in December. Following falls in October and November 2014, output in the construction industry was estimated to have increased by 0.4% in December 2014 compared with November 2014. 

Downward pressure on construction output over the full quarter came from repair and maintenance (R&M), which fell by 6.3%, the largest quarter-on-quarter fall since Q4 2009 when it fell by 8.7%. Both housing and non-housing R&M also reported falls of 4.9% and 7.7% respectively. New work increased by 0.6% on the quarter.

The downward revision in fourth quarter construction output made no impact on the ONS’s estimates for GDP growth.

Commenting on the latest ONS figures, Chris Temple, engineering and construction leader at PwC, said: “While Q4 2014 output decreased compared with the previous quarter, the construction sector continues to show healthy year-on-year growth and our clients are optimistic about the year ahead, with most expecting growth in 2015 in excess of 3%.

“The outlook for jobs in the construction sector remains bright for candidates. There continues to be a skills shortage and, therefore, skilled and semi-skilled labour will continue to be in high demand, putting upward pressure on firms’ wage bills.”