UK CONSTRUCTION SECTOR HAS WORST MONTH SINCE 2009 AMID CORONAVIRUS LOCKDOWN
UK construction sector output plunged at the fastest rate since the financial crisis in March as coronavirus containment measures shut down sites and caused new orders to slump, survey data has shown.
The IHS Markit/Cips construction purchasing managers’ index (PMI) tumbled to 39.3 in March from 52.6 in February. This was the lowest since April 2009. A score of below 50 on the gauge, which measures the health of the sector, indicates contraction.
The UK construction sector has been one of the worst-affected areas of the economy during the coronavirus outbreak. Work cannot be done from home and social distancing on site is very difficult.
Construction firms have also criticised confusing government advice. A government body initially recommended site workers stay two meters apart. The advice was withdrawn after an uproar from the industry, although roughly half of the sites are thought to have closed.
Such closures and lower workloads led firms to lay off workers at the quickest pace since 2010 in March, data firm IHS Markit said.
The civil engineering sub-sector, which focuses on infrastructure, suffered the biggest fall in output. This was closely followed by commercial building work.
Residential construction also fell but to a smaller extent. However, residential building companies said site shutdowns meant housebuilding could be about to plunge.
UK construction sector set to worsen
“The closure of construction sites and lockdown measures will clearly have an even more severe impact on business activity in the coming months,” said Tim Moore, economics director at IHS Markit.
Duncan Brock, group director at Cips, the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply, noted that said: “construction companies registered their lowest levels of optimism since October 2008”.
He said things had been looking up for the sector in February. But now “any hope of a continuation of growth was mercilessly bulldozed away in March”.
“With no upturn insight, and with the fastest level of layoffs since September 2010, the sector is stuck in quicksand and sinking further,” Brock said.
“The brutality of this impact cannot be underestimated, and the sector has not hit rock bottom yet.”
Original Source - City AM
CITB PROPOSES TAKING LEVY BACK UP TO PRE-COVID FIGURE
The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has proposed hiking its levy back up to pre-covid rates from 2022 as it launches a consultation into its funding proposals. The skills body had suspende ...
SELF-EMPLOYED WORKER NUMBERS 13% DOWN ON PRE-COVID LEVEL
Numbers of self-employed workers are slowly returning to the pre-Christmas level despite worries that many eastern Europeans would not return after the break. According to the construction industry& ...
CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT AWARDS DROP BY 12% IN JANUARY
The value of construction contract awards decreased by 12% in January to £4.3bn, 10% lower than the monthly average in 2020 When compared to December, construction contract awards in Januar ...
UBER HAS LOST IN THE SUPREME COURT. HERE’S WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
Uber has lost a landmark case in the Supreme Court and must now classify drivers on its platform as workers. The ruling entitles Uber drivers to minimum wage and holiday pay, protections they were una ...
REVERSE VAT IS FAST APPROACHING
VAT registered construction businesses are advised to be aware of the reverse charge measure that is to be implemented from 1 March 2021. Letters were distributed to every VAT registered construction ...
HOW CONSTRUCTION CAN FIX ITS IMAGE POST-PANDEMIC
The new year is barely under way, yet it has already brought with it momentous change – new vaccines for COVID, being delivered at phenomenal pace; a potentially balanced political backdrop with ...