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Tue August 20 2019

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Scotland sheds 5,000 construction jobs

12 Dec 18 Employment in Scotland’s construction sector has fallen by 5,000 in the last quarter amid a £1.5bn annual drop in output.

The Scottish Building Federation has voiced concerns about the outlook for the industry following the release of the latest Office for National Statistics data.

There were 187,000 jobs in construction for the quarter to September according to the provisional figures, down 5% from the 192,000 of the previous quarter.

Housing output has risen in the past year, according to further statistics published this week (link opens in new tab).

During the year to September 2018, a £300m rise in output from the housing sector failed to offset big falls in output from infrastructure, public sector new works and the private commercial sector, pointed out the SBF. As a result, the value of annual output from the industry dropped from over £15.5bn over the 12 months to September 2017 to less than £14bn a year later.

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However, the number of construction jobs recorded in the September quarter was slightly up on September 2017, when the total had been 186,000.

Scottish Building Federation managing director Vaughan Hart said: “Whilst it’s encouraging to see an increase in output from the housing sector over the past 12 months, other sectors of the industry are faring less well. We’ve known for some time that, with the conclusion of major projects such as the Queensferry Crossing and the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route, infrastructure output was going to decline. A 32% drop in other public sector works is an indication of continuing pressure on local government budgets. A 23% fall in private commercial work is worrying evidence of the negative impact of continued uncertainty around Brexit on investment appetite.

“In combination, these declines have wiped £1.5 billion off the annual value of the construction industry to the Scottish economy and have resulted in the loss of 5,000 Scottish construction jobs.”

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