Both for the construction industry and the country as a whole, the last few years have been defined by disruption and instability. But new data suggests that, at least in some areas, the sector has strengthened over recent months.
The most notable improvement concerns redundancies, which fell by two thirds (67%) over winter, from 9,000 down to 3,000 (from December to February). The latest figure is the joint lowest since records began in 2009, and considerably lower than this time last year when it was 5,000 (a 40% decrease), suggesting that the sector has had a strong start to 2023.
In contrast, across all industries in the UK, redundancies are up 20% year-on-year, and now stand at 90,000. This shows that despite the volatile economic landscape nationally, our sector has managed to maintain some stability.
The picture also looks good moving forwards. The number of filed potential redundancies has plummeted, dropping from 1,973 in February to 690 in March. This decrease of 65% hopefully means that fewer individuals will be at risk of losing their jobs as we head into the lighter months.
In other good news, the number of construction job vacancies has stopped rising. The latest data shows there were 41,000 listings between January and March, which is the same as the previous period, and down 13% year-on-year (47,000). This suggests that companies have been able to fill their advertised positions in recent months, compared to 2022, when, anecdotally, many struggled to recruit.
The importance of job security cannot be overstated. People benefit both financially and psychologically if they don’t have to worry about being made unemployed. Hopefully the positive signs seen in this new data continue as the year goes on, and the construction industry can enjoy a fruitful summer.
Managing director of IronmongeryDirect and ElectricalDirect