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EU construction work dips again

The trend of falling levels of construction work across the European Union resumed in May after a brief respite in April

Industry output was 0.2 per cent lower in May than in April, according to EU statistical office Eurostat.

This means construction work has dropped in six of the past seven months. The only increase came in April, which saw a revised rise of 1.1 per cent from March.

Output in May was 5.1 per cent lower than in the same month last year, and only marginally higher than the 16-year low reached earlier this year.

Central and Eastern Europe suffered badly in May.

Bulgaria’s industry shrunk 4.2 per cent; Poland’s 2.8 per cent; Slovenia’s 2.8 per cent; Germany’s 2.6 per cent; the Czech Republic’s 2.4 per cent; Slovakia’s 0.9 per cent and Hungary’s 0.9 per cent.

Romania was a rare bright spot in the East with a 3.1 per cent increase in work.

Spain saw a 4.4 per cent hike in construction work, but its Iberian cousin Portugal suffered a 2.1 per cent fall.

Sweden (1.7 per cent) and the Netherlands (1.1 per cent) were the only other two countries to see increases in work. The UK remained unchanged.

Spain, Hungary and Sweden were the only countries to have more construction work in May 2013 than the same month the previous year. Data was not available on all 27 member states, however.

Joshua Miller, senior economist at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, told AJ in May that it could be 18 months before any significant growth was seen in EU construction output.

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