Construction Skills Network forecasts marginal decline for 2010

The construction industry will not emerge from recession until 2011, new figures from the Construction Skills Network (CSN) have revealed.

The CSN said the prognosis for the UK construction industry in the short term was very severe with construction output expected to have contracted by around 13% in 2009.

It noted that employment in the sector had suffered gravely, with a drop of around 375,000 workers from 2008 to 2010, and numbers expected to recoup by less than 100,000 by 2014.

The CSN said a further, marginal decline was projected for 2010, and that consistent recovery was not forecast until 2011.

It said this year would see the beginning of a slow return to growth, but added that even by 2014, output was still likely to be well below 2008’s level.

Over the whole of the 2010 to 2014 period, construction output is expected to average 1.7% growth each year.

The recession has hit construction extremely hard and the forecast recovery is likely to be long and slow

Mark Farrar, chief executive of ConstructionSkills

The CSN forecast also identified regional variations on construction output, with the north west down by 18%, north east down by 19% and west midlands down by 22%.

Mark Farrar, chief executive of ConstructionSkills, said: “The recession has hit construction extremely hard and the forecast recovery is likely to be long and slow.

"This situation remains fragile and we are concerned that, given the scale of the public sector deficit, potential funding cuts in the period ahead will further exacerbate the loss of skills before private sector investment has fully recovered.

“In a sector which supports some 8% of GDP and provides employment for large numbers of graduates and apprentices, stability in levels of long term investment plays a critical part in protecting employment and skills.

Farrar also urged the industry to avoid long term skills shortages when the industry returns to growth.

“It is imperative that a level of recruitment is maintained in these difficult times if the industry is to respond in the right way when growth returns,” he said.