Construction job creation has reached a 17 year high according to new survey released on the same day that the government announced a rise of £13Bn in its pipeline of infrastructure projects, providing a ‘huge boost’ to the industry.
The latest Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) survey indicates a sharp increase in UK construction output, although the new figures signal the slowest pace of expansion since October 2013.
More than half of the survey panel anticipated a rise in business activity over the year ahead, while only 4% forecast a reduction. Higher output levels and incoming new work contributed to a rise in staffing levels for the twelfth successive month in May, marking the longest period of construction sector job creation since mid 2006 to early 2008.
Author of the Markit/CIPS Construction PMI Tim Moore voiced some concerns however: “Strengthening demand for construction staff arrived amidst the fastest drop in sub contractor availability since August 1997, which in turn contributed to a survey record rise in sub contractor charges in May.
Meanwhile Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Vince Cable has announced that the pipeline of future Government construction opportunities is £13Bn higher than previously announced, at £116Bn.
Michael Dall, lead economist at Barbour ABI, commented: “These latest figures represent a huge boost to the UK construction industry.
“Plans of new projects and significant spend in the infrastructure sector should help to dispel concerns that the industry is becoming too reliant on the housing sector.
“We must also not forget the recent reports of skills shortages affecting the construction industry. With construction jobs accounting for 10 per cent of total employment in the UK, addressing these supply side constraints is crucial to ensure the long term health of the industry going forward.”