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Mon April 19 2021

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Scottish construction sees output rise but employment fall

18 Jun 15 Scotland’s construction industry is getting more efficient, official statistics suggest.

Construction output in Scotland is on the rise but employment is in decline.

While this indicates improved efficiency, the Scottish Building Federation has voiced concern at what it calls the intensifying decoupling of jobs and output.

The construction industry in Scotland employed 168,000 people in the first quarter of 2015, a decline of 8,000 jobs compared to the number of people working in Scottish construction during the previous quarter at the end of 2014.

Separate figures published last week by the Office of National Statistics show Scottish industry output hit a new all-time high of £12.5bn over the 12 months to March 2015.

From this it follows that every £1m of Scottish industry output now supports 13 construction jobs – which is a fall from 22 jobs supported by every £1m of output back in 2004.

Industry output continues to be driven by infrastructure and other public sector new work, which hit a combined record output of £4.3bn over the 12 months to March 2015.

But the value of housing output in Scotland remains 28% below where it was in 2007 before the recession. Repair and maintenance output for the 12 months to March 2015 is 19% lower than four years ago.

Commenting on the figures, Scottish Building Federation managing director Vaughan Hart said: “Productivity is going to be a key challenge for construction and the wider economy in the months and years ahead. In that context, evidence of an increase in industry productivity is to be welcomed. That said, to be sustainable in the longer term, the industry’s recovery needs to be suitably balanced across all sectors and this is not currently the case. Investment in training, technology and modern construction methods will be crucial to rebuilding industry skills and capacity and ensuring a balanced and sustainable recovery for Scotland’s building industry.”

Output and employment figures for the Scottish construction industry 2004-2014:

Year

Output (£bn)

Employment

Jobs per £1m of output

2004

9,295

209,032

22

2005

10,080

203,392

20

2006

11,134

224,829

20

2007

11,325

232,272

21

2008

11,569

235,234

20

2009

9,810

196,876

20

2010

11,272

190,383

17

2011

10,847

187,249

17

2012

9,708

172,732

18

2013

10,410

163,766

16

2014

11,862

176,557

15

Sources:

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