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  • Output in the construction industry fell by 4.0% between October and November 2013 due to a drop in new commercial work, according to seasonally adjusted figures from the ONS. However the longer term trend remains positive, with output during the three months to November 5.1% higher than a year ago and up 0.7% on the previous three months. The fast rate of growth in private housing is moderating, with output during the three months to November up 2.5% on the previous three months; this is a slowdown from the 4.9% growth seen in the three months to October.
  • Workloads increased across every part of the UK in the fourth quarter of 2013, according to a survey conducted by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, with workloads expected to increase by 5.2% in 2014. Skills shortages were identified by 36% of surveyors as constraining industry growth, with skills shortages spreading outside London and the South East to the Midlands and North West. However financial constraints are still perceived as the factor most limiting building activity, being identified by 73% of respondents.


  • Industrial and manufacturing production output during the three months to November 2013 was up 2.6% on a year before and up a modest 0.3% on the previous three months, according to figures released by the ONS.
  • Retail sales in December 2013 were higher than during December 2012, however the rate of growth had slowed from November, according to figures from the British Retail Consortium. Overall retail spending was 1.8% higher than a year ago, compared to annual growth of 2.3% in November. 
  • The UK trade deficit was £3.2 billion in November, down from £3.5 billion in October, according to the ONS, with exports rising by 1.2% compared to October, faster than imports which rose by 0.6% on the previous month.
  • A survey by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation showed employers in December were hiring at the fastest rate since March 2010. Meanwhile Hays, a specialist recruiter, reported that permanent job placements grew faster than temporary ones for the first time in six years in the three months to December, driven by increased hiring by small and medium sized businesses. 

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