Commenting on the Construction Output in Great Britain: March 2018 figures released last week by the ONS, Marc Jones, Director of Operations at leading specialist recruitment agency Acorn, said:
“The record-breaking bank holiday weekend just proved it: every cloud has a silver lining. And whilst the latest ONS construction output figures confirm that the weather-related disruption in March did lead to a prolonged dip in activity, the industry is already showing signs of a resurgence in growth.
“Fairly predictably, the effect of the adverse weather in the three months to March 2018 was most notable in repair and maintenance; causing a fall in all new work. The only positive contribution to growth over this period came from the relatively small and volatile private industrial sector.
“But these figures are short term measures and should be put into perspective. Construction output peaked in December 2017, reaching a level that was 30.3% higher than the lowest point of the last five years in April 2013. This means that despite an overall 2.7% decrease in the first three months of 2018, construction output remains well above this level.
“Moreover, as the latest IHS Markit/CIPS Construction PMI figures have just revealed, April has seen the sector’s output growth bounce back to 52.5%, a sharp rise from the 20-month low seen in March at 47.0%. Residential work has led the recovery; house building has expanded at the strongest rate, with new orders increasing slightly for the first time in 2018.
“This is fantastic news for the construction job market. With many new project contracts in the pipeline and an expected increase in workloads leading to job creation, employment numbers continued to increase for the 21st month running.
“The last couple of months have undoubtedly demonstrated how easily construction can be affected by temporary factors. But it’s also a fast-recovering industry, as long as it is supported by a reactive and flexible workforce.
“As a leading recruitment specialist, Acorn is very aware of this and we are committed to meeting the fluctuating recruitment needs of the industry. Acorn’s construction consultants are experts in their field, and recruit for labourers, tradesmen, craftsmen and professional specialists for local and national employers.
“The second quarter of 2018 is off to a good start for the construction industry, but a continuous dialogue between employers and specialist consultants, who have an in-depth knowledge of the sector they recruit for, is key to ensuring a durable and long-term return to good climates.”