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  • Output in the construction industry fell by 1.1% in the first quarter of the year compared to Q4 2014, and by 0.3% compared to a year earlier, according to Office for National Statistics estimates. This was the first year on year fall since 2013 Q2. The public housing, private housing and commercial sectors dragged new work output 1.7% lower than the previous quarter. New work output was down by 0.1% compared to a year ago, again due to falls in public housing and commercial work, while private housing output remains 8.3% up. The industrial and infrastructure sectors both saw new work growth compared to the previous quarter and to a year ago. Repair and maintenance activity fell by 0.2% on the previous quarter and by 0.7% year on year.
  • The Q1 2015 Construction Trade Survey, compiled by the Construction Products Association, found that construction activity rose for the eighth consecutive quarter, with large contractors, SMEs, civil engineers and product manufacturers all recording growth. The survey also found:
    • Among building contractors a positive balance of 50% reported a rise in output.
    • This balance was 54% for private housing and 23% for commercial output. 
    • On balance, 9% of building contractors reported a fall in both housing and non-housing repair and maintenance output in Q1. 
    • Public housing new orders fell in Q1 according to a balance of 45% of building contractors.
    • 63% of firms reported rising labour costs and 81% say materials cost rose; in both cases this was higher than the previous quarter.
    • 59% of building contractors reported difficulties recruiting plasterers, up from 31% in the previous quarter. 56% reported difficulties recruiting bricklayers, down from 70% last quarter.

The Construction Trade Survey encompasses trade surveys conducted by the CPA, NFB, NSCC, CECA, UKCG and FMB.


  • The positive employment trends seen over the last year and a half continued during the three months to March. UK employment rate rose to 73.5%, higher than at any point since at least 1971. The unemployment rate fell to 5.5%, the lowest since mid-2008. Average earnings, excluding bonuses, rose by 2.2% on a year earlier. This was up from a rise of 1.8% in the previous month and the strongest growth since mid-2011. 
  • GDP growth was up 0.4% in the three months to April, from 0.3% in the first quarter, according to estimates from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research. They continue to forecast growth of 2.5% for 2015 as a whole.

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