Building firms ‘to enjoy further output growth’

John Longworth
John Longworth

The recovery of the construction sector should continue over the coming two years, according to new forecasts, with further growth predicted.

The latest economic forecasts from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) indicate that the UK’s overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rate should improve by 3 per cent this year.

In response to weakening economic signals from abroad and lower-than-expected household consumption growth, this is slightly down on the group’s earlier prediction of 3.2 per cent.

However, despite the slight downgrade, the business group said further growth is expected to be seen in the building industry between now and 2016.

It said the output of the construction sector should grow by 4.9 per cent in 2014, in full-year terms.

Looking further ahead, the body added that construction output growth rates of 1.9 per cent and 1.6 per cent should also be witnessed respectively in 2015 and in the following year.

Employers in the construction trade continue to offer apprenticeship schemes, in order to plug skill gaps and provide work opportunities to young people.

These efforts appear to be having a positive impact, with the BCC suggesting that the unemployment total among 16 to 24 year-olds should drop from 737,000 in the third quarter of this year, to 533,000 in the same period of 2017.

The UK’s wider unemployment figure should dip from 1.959 million to 1.839 million by the third quarter of next year, meanwhile, the group suggested.

Despite the downgrade in the headline GDP forecast, BCC director general John Longworth said the UK should remain one of the world’s quickest-growing developed economies this year.

He added: “This is a great achievement, and businesses up and down the country should be congratulated for their hard work and resolve to drive the recovery in the face of challenges and uncertainty both at home and abroad.”

As Britain continues to recover from the effects of the recession, the BCC said businesses should see further economic growth in both 2015 and 2016.

It said the country’s GDP reading is likely to improve by 2.6 per cent next year and by another 2.4 per cent in 2016.

Among its other predictions, the trade body said business investment levels should stay strong. It said these investments should go up by 7.5 per cent in 2014 alone.

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