A fall of 0.2% in construction output to £14.2bn in August 2021 can be explained by a combination of supply chain blockages, product shortages and price rises, according to the latest data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The level of work plateaued during the month of August, with repair and maintenance activity falling by 0.6%.Compared with its pre-pandemic level in February 2020, construction output in August was down 1.5%.
Construction statistics for May to July 2021 show construction fell by 1.2, the first three-month fall since July 2020. A fall in repair and maintenance work of 4.7% was the driving factor.
Within the survey was anecdotal evidence of “rising prices of raw materials such as steel, concrete, timber and glass, along with the difficulty in sourcing these materials for jobs was a contributing factor to the monthly fall. This has been a continued factor from anecdotal evidence obtained in previous months.”
The Construction Skills Network (CSN) provides insights into the UK construction economy and its labour market intelligence. CSN 2021-2025 forecasts that UK construction output will return to pre-Covid-19 levels in 2022, driven in part by the vaccine programme and extensive government support, but also because many construction businesses were able to stay open and adapt rapidly to the new environment.
Output is expected to grow at an average rate of 4.4% across 2021-2025, meaning that construction will need to recruit an extra 217,000 workers, or over 43,000 per year.