UK construction output down 7% year-on-year

By Helen Wright12 April 2013

The latest figures from the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) show construction output in February this year was 7% lower than in 2012.

And, comparing the three months from December 2012 to February 2013 with the same three months a year earlier, construction output was down 8.9%.

New work was 10.7% lower for the period, with large falls in public other new work and private-commercial other new work, which reported decreases of 23.7% and 9.8% respectively.

However, construction output did rise 5.5% month-on-month comparing February 2013 with January 2013. There were increases in output for nearly all sectors for this period, with the exception of private commercial other new work which showed a fall of 0.5%.

Full-year fall

Nevertheless, the UK Construction Products Association forecast a full-year drop in construction output this year on the back of February’s statistics.

“[The ONS figures] indicate that construction output is likely to fall this year,” economics director Noble Francis said. “The Association forecasts that output in the industry will fall 2% in 2013 and this will inevitably impact on the wider economy. If government’s announcements to boost housing and infrastructure over the past 18 months are delivered, this could provide some much needed activity on the ground.”

Mr Francis said the month-on-month rise was still lower than had been expected. “It was expected that construction output in February would be considerably higher than in January because weather conditions significantly improved.”

He added that the three months to February 2013 represented the worst quarter of construction output since the first quarter of 1987.

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