Jobless building labourers up 15,000, as architects lead woe among construction professionals

Low-paid workers such as building labourers are bearing the brunt of the recession but in the construction industry workers at all levels are seeing unemployment soar, according to research from the Financial Times.

So far 15,000 building labourers and 14,000 carpenters have lost their jobs since the recession began in April 2008, but the highest percentage rises in unemployment are among construction professionals.

The number of architects out of work has risen 720% – the highest rise among all occupations, with 1,100 losing their jobs – while the figure for QSs is 655%, town planners 500%, civil engineers 482% and construction managers 462%, according to the FT’s analysis of Office for National Statistics data.

While elementary occupations such as labourers have seen the largest rises in claimant numbers, unemployment among skilled tradespeople – which includes plumbers, carpenters and bricklayers – has also risen rapidly, with job losses up 122%.

The overall number of those claiming jobseeker allowance has nearly doubled from 790,000 to 1.52 million since the recession began, although the claimant count, now 4.7% of the workforce, has fallen in four of the past five months.

Northern Ireland, Yorkshire and Humber, North-east England and the West Midlands have seen the fastest overall rises in unemployment since April 2008, but unemployed professionals are concentrated in the South-east.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development warned last week that unemployment could near 3 million two years from now, and remain there until 2015, while the CBI expects it to peak at 2.7 million next year before falling slowly.