That is the bleak warning from forecasters at CITB-ConstructionSkills in their annual Construction Skills Network report.
The report paints a grim picture of 2012 with:
- 20% downturn in public sector housing and non-housing construction;
- 5% downturn in private housing construction;
- 10% per cent downturn in commercial sector construction and;
- 15% downturn in infrastructure construction.
And the prospects for the next five years from 2013 – 17 are equally bleak.
The report forecasts that nearly every sector of the industry will continue to struggle with only the private housing, repair and maintenance and industrial sectors predicted to achieve anything like consistent growth.
As a whole, the industry will only grow at an average of 0.8%, and will not match its 2007 output peak until 2022.
This weakness is reflected in a predicted fall in construction employment every year from 2013-16, reaching a low of 2.36m – the lowest employment level in the industry since 2000.
Recruitment to the industry is predicted to run at an average of 29,050 a year from now until 2017 – largely to fill vacancies arising from those leaving the sector.
Across the UK only Greater London and the East of England can expect to see employment actively grow in this period.
Judy Lowe, Deputy Chairman of CITB-ConstructionSkills, said: “Client and consumer confidence is low and it is keeping growth levels down.
“Worryingly, the outlook doesn’t look much better – by 2017, construction output will still be 12% down on its 2007 peak, and employment 17% down on its peak in 2008.
“Indeed, we don’t anticipate the industry returning to its former levels until at least 2022 – meaning this will be one of the most difficult periods for construction on record.
“What’s bad for construction is bad for the economy, so doing nothing is not an option. There is too much at stake.”
A deputation from the Construction4Growth campaign will meet Ministers at an 11 Downing Street Summit tomorrow where a ten point plan for working with Government to secure growth and support the industry will be discussed.
The plan examines:
- ways to get projects delivered as part of the Government’s pledged capital investment in construction;
- investment in shovel-ready repair and maintenance projects to get unemployed construction workers back on site and;
- a mandatory requirement for teachers to undertake taster courses to understand the value of a vocational career.