Thursday, June 4, 2009

Construction market survey: workloads continue to weaken in Q1

Construction workloads continued to fall in the first quarter of 2009, according to a new market survey from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. About 45 percent of the surveyors who participated in the survey said that overall construction workloads fell in the first three months this year up from a net balance of -47 percent.

The bleakest figures come from the private commercial and industrial workloads sectors, where the respondents reported net balances of -57 and -61 percent respectively.

There was, however, an easing in the pace decline on the housing market. "This slight easing we are seeing in both public and private housing is broadly in line with the figures coming from the Government on the number of housing starts, which saw a small rise in the first quarter of 2009, and could be aligned to recent signs of a gentle pick-up in the housing market," said Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist at the Royal Institute.

Almost a half (46 percent) of the surveyors expect employment levels to drop, while as many as 72 percent believe that profits will be down in the coming months. "Despite some sub-sectors showing slightly more positive signs, construction output is likely to post a double digit drop over the course of 2009 with a further loss of employment and skills in the industry," Rubinsohn concluded.

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