Latest data confirms impact on companies’ turnover from covid-19

More than one third of firms working in the construction industry have seen their turnovers drop by at least half, the latest data on the economic impact of covid-19 from the Office for National Statistics has revealed.

Figures for the two weeks to 17 May said 40% of businesses in the sector had admitted revenues had gone down by at least 50%.

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Site closures have seen income crash for firms in the sector

The industry is the third worst hit in the country by this measurement behind only the arts, entertainment and recreation and accommodation and food service sectors.

Figures released by a number of quoted materials firms, contractors and housebuilders in recent weeks have outlined the scale of the hit companies are facing.

Last week, brickmaker Forterra, which has announced plans to cut 225 jobs, said revenue had declined year-on-year by 86% in April and by 62% in May while materials giant Kingspan said sales had dropped by a third in April.

Others to see income collapse include T Clarke with the M&E firm saying turnover dropped to £10m in April – down from a typical monthly level of £28m – while last week Taylor Wimpey said its sales had dropped 40% in the five months to the end of May.

Construction also reported the largest percentage of businesses out of all sectors indicating they were laying off staff in the short-term with 48%.

And the latest survey said construction had the third highest share of its workforce furloughed with 40.5% of staff on the government’s job retention scheme. Only arts and entertainment and accommodation and food had furloughed a greater percentage.

But there was some brighter news with 35% of construction firms which had paused trading reporting they were expecting to restart work within the next two weeks.