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EU construction work falls again

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EU construction work has fallen yet again

Figures from official statistical office Eurostat showed output across the 27 member states was 1.1 per cent lower in March than in the previous month.

This marks the fifth successive month of shrinking or stable workloads, with construction output reaching a new 16-year low.

Production was 7.2 per cent lower in March 2013 than the same month a year earlier.

Joshua Miller, senior economist at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, told AJ a lack of economic growth across Europe was hitting the industry hard.

‘Lack of growth means lower employment, and this means lower demand for space as people are not in jobs that need commercial buildings and can not obtain mortgages for residential buildings,’ he said.

Miller warned that it could be 18 months before any significant growth was seen in EU construction output.

‘We need to see an economic recovery in the euro area, and this could take until the end of this year or the start of next year,’ he said. ‘Then there is a lag as that feeds into the employment market and then the demand for space.

‘It could be late 2014 before we see an upturn in overall construction output.’

Portugal suffered the greatest month-on-month fall in workloads in March, down 10.7 per cent.

The Czech Republic saw workloads dip 7.6 per cent; Slovakia 5.0 per cent; and Slovenia 3.9 per cent.

Four of the countries for which data was available saw workloads rise – including the UK. The other three were Spain, Hungary and Romania. But Miller warned that monthly figures were notoriously volatile.

Buildings construction across the EU declined 0.9 per cent in March, with civils work down 1.2 per cent.

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