Construction Skills Network predicts less than one third of jobs lost to the recession will be recouped

The Construction Skills Network forecasts that just 100,000 of the 375,000 construction jobs lost between 2008 and the end of 2010 will be recouped by 2014.

The network has predicted a slow return to growth for the construction industry over the next five years after a "severe" contraction.

A slight decline in output is predicted for this year, with consistent recovery not expected until 2011. According to ConstructionSkills, output is forecast to be strongest in Wales, Scotland, the East of England and East Midlands.

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."

Sandra Lilley, manager of the Construction Skills Network, said: "The forecast clearly shows what many in the industry already know; that construction has been through a severe recession. Falls in employment tend to lag behind falls in output, so it is crucial for the industry to focus its efforts on retaining and reskilling workers currently in employment. These workers will be needed to keep businesses competitive as growth returns in 2011. The industry needs to act now to avoid the long-term skills shortages which were faced after the 1990s recession."