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  • The Construction Products Association forecast that construction output is set to shrink by 6.3% for 2012 and again in 2013 by 1.4%, commenting; “Although growth is expected in 2014, the next 12-18 months are likely to cause considerable pain to an industry that is already reeling from a prolonged decline.”
  • The Federation of Master Builders in its State of Trade survey, the largest survey of SME’s in the construction industry, reported that 40% of small and medium sized firms are still suffering from the downturn in the housing market in the third quarter of this year.

UK Economy

  • The ONS reported that the unemployment rate fell again in August; the rate for the 3-month period between June and August was 7.9%, down from 8.1% in the previous 3-month period.
  • Regional labour market indicators for the same period also became available; the North East and Yorkshire & the Humber had unemployment rates of 9.9% and 9.3% respectively, the worst of any UK regions. The South East and South West on the other hand had rates of 6.3% and 5.8% respectively, well below the UK average.
  • Retail sales volumes for September were 2.5% above the volume of retail sales in September 2011, or 0.6% above the level recorded in August this year.
  • Public sector finance data showed that the government net borrowing was £37bn for April to September this year, £25bn less than it borrowed in the same period last year.
  • The inflation rate, as measured by the consumer price index fell to 2.2% on an annual basis in September, down from 2.5% in August, the easing in the rate mainly a result of utility bill hikes in September 2011 that were not repeated this year.

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