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RICS: Construction workloads continue to fall

Construction workloads in the first quarter of 2009 continued to weaken the latest construction market survey published by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors today revealed.

Around 45 per cent of surveyors reported a fall in overall workloads for the first three months of 2009 up from a net balance of -47 per cent.

But the housing market has shown an easing in the pace decline.

RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn said: This slight easing we are seeing in both public and private housing is broadly in line with the figures coming from the Government on the number of housing starts, which saw a small rise in the first quarter of 2009, and could be aligned to recent signs of a gentle pick-up in the housing market.”

Private commercial and industrial workloads recorded the worst figures with net balances of

-57 and -61 respectively. The infrastructure sector’s decline accelerated at the fastest pace in the surveys history.

The outlook for the next year remains ‘downbeat’ with the 46 per cent of surveyors expecting employment levels to fall and 72 per cent surveyors expecting profits to be down over the coming months.

Mr Rubinsohn added: “Despite some sub-sectors showing slightly more positive signs, construction output is likely to post a double digit drop over the course of 2009 with a further loss of employment and skills in the industry.”