Workloads jump despite wider economy shrinking

Construction output rose in October for the fourth successive month despite negative quarterly growth in the economy overall.

Data from the Office of National Statistics today shows monthly construction output rose 0.8% in October.

In monetary terms the value of construction work in the month was £15.25bn, the highest since records began in 2010, in part due to inflation.


Source: Shutterstock

Output was up 0.8% in October, the latest ONS figures for construction show

The increase in output was driven by private new housing, which posted a 2.9% rise, while non-housing repairs and maintenance was up 1.7%.

Five out of eight areas of construction saw an increase, with falls in output in private industrial work, which slipped 1.6% and infrastructure new work, down 1.2%.

In the three months to October, construction output grew 1.1%, driven by a 3.1% rise in new work, although repairs and maintenance fell 2.1%.

Data also out today shows the UK economy as a whole grew in October, with gross domestic product rising 0.5%.

However, the economy shrank by 0.3% in the three months to October.

>>See also: Infrastructure update: Can investment in energy security be compatible with net zero?

>>See also: Optimism sinks as firms fret about economy

David Savage, partner, at law firm Charles Russell Speechlys, said the data showed construction is “holding strong during a difficult period”.

He added: “As the wider economy seems to be heading inexorably towards recession, the construction sector continues to demonstrate resilience in the face of the significant economic challenges and general uncertainty in both the UK and global economy.

“However, developers and investors are well aware of the challenges they face as we enter the winter period, with double digit inflation, structurally higher interest rates and continued construction labour shortages all cause for concern in the months ahead.” 

% Change in output  
  Month-on-month Year-on-year
Public new housing -2.5 10.3
Private new housing 2.9 19.2
Total housing 0.3 18.1
Infrastructure new work -1 -4.1
Public other work 2.8 -2.6
Private industrial new work -1.2 46
Private commercial new work -1.5 5.5
All new work 0.5 9.1
Public housing repairs and maintenance 0.7 2
Private housing repairs and maintenance 0.9 -0.2
Total housing repairs and maintenance 0.8 0.3
Non housing repairs and maintenance 1.7 9.6
All repairs and maintenance 1.3 4.7
All work 0.8 7.4
Source: ONS