EU construction sector sees recovery

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New figures have revealed a 2.4 per cent recovery in activity across the EU construction sector during 2015…

The European Construction Industry Federation (FIEC) has revealed figures that suggest an overall recovery within the EU construction sector during 2015. According to the data, activity recovered by 2.4 per cent and is expected to see another increase in 2016, amounting to 2.1 per cent.

The EU construction sector represents 8.5 per cent of GDP across the region and makes up 3.2 million enterprises.

FIEC’s vice president Jean-Louis Marchand said: “After reaching the bottom in 2013, activity is slowly recovering in the construction industry.

“In 2015, the increase in activity has finally been slightly higher than we had initially forecast and the trend is expected to continue in 2016, but at a slower pace.”

He added: “There are economic and political uncertainties, such as, for example, the referendum in the UK, the asylum-seekers issue and the geo-political situation in the Middle-East, that are hindering investments – and there cannot be growth without investment.

“We therefore welcome the decision to prolong further the Juncker Investment Plan, which has shown quite positive results so far, and we will discuss it with the Vice President of the European Commission, Jyrki Katainen, during our forthcoming General Assembly on 17 June”.

During 2015, Marchand said total construction output in the EU reached €1.2tr, which was an increase of 2.4 per cent when compared to 2014.

“This is positive, but we will still need time to catch up with the pre-crisis levels,” he said.

Civil engineering, which rose 6.2 per cent, and new housebuilding at 3.5 per cent were said to be behind the increase in activity in 2015. The non-residential sector declined at -0.5 per cent, both private at +0.3 per cent and public at 2.4 per cent.

Activity in rehabilitation and maintenance remained stable at 2.5 per cent in 2015, which helped bolster the construction sector.

However, the statistics also revealed significant disparities between individual member states. For example, Sweden saw a rise of 10 per cent in output, while Greece fell to 15.1 per cent.

FIEC also found employment saw an increase of 0.9 per cent in 2015, but noted between 2008 and 2014 more than two million jobs were lost in the sector.

The European construction sector provides some 14.1 million people with jobs, making up 6.4 per cent of total employment. This figure increases to 42.3 million jobs when indirect employment in related sectors are taken into account.

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