Staff losses in the thousands loom across the sector

The UK construction industry has been one of the sectors hardest hit by the credit crunch.

This month alone, thousands of jobs have been reported as being greatly at risk by companies such as Wolseley, Michelmersh and MJ Gleeson.

Yesterday it was announced that up to 8,000 construction jobs could be lost in Northern Ireland because of the economic downturn.

The number of people out of work across all sectors soared to 1.79 million in October, the Office for National Statistics said. The government has made an extra £100m available to retrain workers who lose their job in the economic slump.

One forecast predicted that unemployment could reach 3 million by next Christmas.