Housing worst hit by continued turmoil in the industry

Construction output in the fourth quarter of 2011 fell by 0.5%, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics published today.

The sector did £27bn of work in the last three months of 2011, which was a 0.9% rise on the same period in 2010.

Housing work fell the furthest with a £135m drop in output between the third and fourth quarters of 2011.

The volume of new private sector housing work was hit especially hard with a drop of 3.5% in quarter four compared with quarter three, while public sector housing work fell 1%.

Noble Francis, economics director at the Construction Products Association, said: “The trend in construction output is clearly still downwards at a time when government acknowledges that construction is one of the sectors necessary to help the economy avoid slipping back into recession. Overall these figures only serve to reinforce our concerns about the prospects for the industry over the next 18 months.”

“The real concern, however, is that private sector construction is not recovering fast enough to offset this and will fall further during 2012, with the private commercial sector 5% lower than this year,” he added.