10 December 2021
The Office for National Statistics published an estimate of construction output for October 2021 this morning:
- Construction output fell 1.8% in volume terms in October 2021, this is the largest monthly decline since April 2020 when output fell by 41.7%; new work fell (2.8%) from September to October 2021 while repair and maintenance remained unchanged (0.0%).
- Like recent months, anecdotal evidence in October 2021 from businesses continues to suggest that product shortages caused by supply chain issues leading to subsequent price rises in raw materials such as steel, concrete, timber and glass, were an important reason for the decline.
- At the sector level, the main contributors to the decline in monthly output in October 2021 were infrastructure and private new housing, which decreased 7.1% and 4.4% respectively; these decreases were partially offset by increases in private industrial and public other new work of 8.8% and 7.0% respectively.
- The level of construction output in October 2021 was 2.8% (£400 million) below the February 2020, pre-coronavirus level; new work was 6.2% (£592 million) below the February 2020 level, while repair and maintenance work was 3.9% (£193 million) above the February 2020 level.
- The extent of recovery to date, since the falls at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, has been mixed at a sector level, illustrated with infrastructure performing strongly above (36.7% or £688 million) while private commercial was still some way below (26.9% or £670 million) its February 2020 level in October 2021.
- In line with the monthly fall, construction output fell by 1.2% in the three months to October 2021; this was because of a 1.5% fall in repair and maintenance (mainly because of a 3.5% fall in non-housing repair and maintenance) and a fall of 1.0% in new work (with new housing (both public and private), public other new work, and private commercial new work all falling).