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  • The ONS’ preliminary estimate of GDP revealed that construction output in the final quarter of 2013 fell by 0.3% compared to the third quarter of 2013, reflecting weak commercial output in November. However output was up by 4.5% compared to the final quarter of 2012. 
  • There were 133,670 new home registrations in the UK during 2013, a 28% rise on 2012 but well below the 200,700 registrations in 2007, according to annual statistics from the National House Building Council (NHBC). New registrations increased in every English Region, with the fastest growth in London where registrations were 60% higher than in 2012. Registrations also increased in Scotland and Northern Ireland, but fell in Wales.
  • CITB’s Construction Skills Network forecasts employment in the construction industry will grow by an annual average of 1.2% between 2014 and 2018. This forecast would see 2.588 million employees in 2018, still 196,000 below the 2008 peak. Demand is expected to be strongest for plant mechanics/fitters, civil engineering operatives and construction process managers. 
  • 80% of construction product manufacturers expect their production costs to increase during 2014, according to the Construction Products Association Q4 2013 state of trade survey. More than two thirds of respondents reported that costs rose during the final quarter of 2013, with pressure from rising energy prices, raw material prices and wages.

  • UK GDP grew by 1.9% during 2013, the strongest rate since the financial crisis, according to official statistics. GDP grew by 0.7% in the final quarter of 2013, slightly slower than the 0.8% growth in the third quarter. Output in services rose by 0.8% in the fourth quarter of 2013, with industrial output rising by 0.7%.
  • The GfK consumer confidence index rose by six points in January to -7, the most positive score since September 2007. This follows three consecutive months of falls in the index. Households’ expectations are more positive than a year ago regarding their personal financial situation and the general economic situation.
  • Lending to non-financial businesses fell again in December 2013, by £1.9 billion. This concerning data suggests that businesses’ access to credit remains constrained.

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