Office of National Statistics says construtction's redundancy rate in first quarter 2010 has fallen 44% since its peak for same period in 2009

The number of redundancies made in construction fell 22,000 in first quarter of 2010 since the same period in 2009, new figures have revealed.

Data from the Office for National Statistics released today shows a drop in the number of redundancies to about 28,000 between January and March this year.

This represents a decline of 44% compared with the same period last year when there were an estimated 50,000 job losses.

Since reaching a peak in the first quarter 2009 redundancies in construction have steadily fallen, reaching 34,000 in the fourth quarter of last year.

Vacancies in construction reached 9,000 in the period of February to April 2010, down from 13,000 last year, and representing a 34% decline.

Despite the relative good news for the construction sector, the overall level of unemployment for the country is at its highest level since December 1994. The overall unemployment rate was 8% and there were 2.51 million unemployed people.

The overall employment rate for all sectors for the three months to March this year was 72%, down 0.3% on the previous quarter and it has not been lower since the winter 1996-97, according to the ONS.

The number of people in employment fell by 76,000 on the quarter to reach 28.83 million.

The number of people unemployed for up to six months fell by 52,000, to reach 1.21 million.

However, the number of people unemployed for more than 12 months increased by 94,000 over the quarter to reach 757,000, the highest figure since the three months to May 1997.