Rising demand for groundworkers signals V-shaped recovery

Grant Prior 1 year ago
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A surge in demand for groundworkers has raised hopes of a “V-shaped” recovery for house builders.

Demand for groundworkers has passed the pre-lockdown peak according to analysis by Hudson Contract – the industry’s biggest payer of subcontractors

Latest data shows the number of groundworks operatives paid in the week commencing June 29 reached 6,467.

This compares to the previous high of 6,261 in the week commencing March 16 and the low of 1,735 in the week commencing April 20.

Ian Anfield, Hudson managing director, said: “Every trade follows the groundworkers so they are the best indicator of what is happening.

“We are quite surprised at these findings because a number of our large clients have not yet returned to full capacity with their labour needs.

“But many smaller construction firms are very busy as a result of pent-up demand to complete smaller housing developments.

“Our field agents tell us that housebuilding activity is recovering strongly in places like Greater Manchester but more slowly in the East Midlands.

“Interestingly, we paid more operatives with Leicester postcodes after the second lockdown was announced than we did before the measures were reintroduced.”

Overall, labour demand dropped to 30% of capacity during April but has now recovered to 74%, according to Hudson.

Earnings for subcontractors also continued to recover last month.

Analysis of Hudson payroll data for more than 2,500 construction companies shows average weekly earnings of £848 for freelancers in June, compared to £827 in May and £734 in April.

Hudson is supplying statistics to the Bank of England to keep policymakers updated with real-time insights on demand for skilled labour.

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