Pandemic triggers huge reduction in skilled labour

Output declines as pandemic worsens labour shortages

Construction output fell 1.8% in October, according to official figures; the largest monthly decline since April 2020.

The bulletin, published by Office for National Statistics, found that new work fell 2.8% in the same period, whilst repair and maintenance remained unchanged.

The fall was blamed on product shortages and rising prices, with infrastructure and private new housing the greatest contributors to the drop.

Meanwhile, the pandemic has triggered a plunge in the numbers of experienced skilled workers aged 45-55, in a workforce which is already suffering from crippling labour shortages.

According to the Construction Products Association, 223,000 workers have vanished from the industry over two years, with nearly half of this number coming from the 45-55 age group. The CITB have expanded upon this worrying statistic, stating that 25,000 migrant workers have left construction post-Brexit.

The shortage of skilled workers is also contributing towards rising costs, with Hudson Contract reporting that labour rates in London have hit an all-time high in November, with weekly earnings across the UK rising 1.8% to £944.

And, with material costs set to rise in 2022 as a result of increasing energy prices, it seems as if the current volatility in costs will continue for the next 12 months. Bricks, glass, cement and concrete are particularly exposed, with the Regional Building Construction tender price inflation forecast standing at 3% next year.

Halifax reports house price rise for fifth straight month

Halifax published their house price index for November this week, reporting that value growth is now at a 15-year high.

The average property value now stands at £272,992; a 1.0% monthly increase, and an annual change of 8.2%. Wales represented the strongest growth region, with prices rising 14.8% over the past 12 months.

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