The number of vacancies in construction has fallen from 28,000 in April 2008, the first month in which the UK moved into recession, to just 10,000 in May 2010, according to research by the Trades Union Congress.
The 64% fall makes construction the worst affected sector. Science was the next hardest hit, with vacancies falling by 49%, followed by manufacturing (46%), and transport (33%).
Across the economy there were 492,000 job vacancies in May 2010, a fall of 29% compared to April 2008, when there were 692,000 vacancies.
The analysis also shows that the number of redundancies in construction and among scientific and technical professionals was twice as high in the first quarter of 2010 than the second quarter of 2008.
The analysis comes ahead of the latest unemployment statistics published today by the Office for National Statistics, which are expected to show a further rise in unemployment, as well as steep rises in long-term unemployment.
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “Economic recovery remains fragile. Even on the most optimistic assumptions recovery is not strong enough to generate new jobs for those being made redundant in both the private and public sectors as a result of the spending cuts.
“Employers and unions worked very hard to keep unemployment below 2.5 million despite the deepest recession for 60 years, but this will make it harder for companies to take on more jobs as the economy recovers.”