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The construction industry: statistics and policy

Published Thursday, December 27, 2018

Construction industry - employment, new orders, output. Construction 2025 and the Construction Sector Deal.

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In 2017, the construction contributed £113 billion to the UK economy, 6% of the total.


Since 2013, the construction sector has seen growth each year – a prolonged period of growth that is unusual for the industry. Construction output in in Q3 2018 is 14% higher than output in Q1 2017, compared to a 15% rise in whole economy economic output.


There are 2.4 million construction industry jobs in the UK in Q3 2018, 6.8% of all jobs, despite falls in construction employment in 2009 a bad 2010, and there are now roughly the same number as there were a decade ago.

The construction industry is unusual because of the high proportion of self-employment in the sector – 37% in Q3 2018, compared to the average for the whole economy of 13%.



Total construction orders were worth £163 billion in 2017. Repairs and maintenance were worth £53 billion (34% of all orders), housing orders were worth £41 billion (25% of orders), and infrastructure was worth £20 billion, 12% of orders.

In 2017, private sector construction orders accounted for 76% of all construction orders, up from 67% in 2010.



The Government’s strategy for the construction sector was set out in Construction 2025 which included the following overall aims:

  • A 33% reduction in both the initial cost of construction and the whole life cost of assets (from 2010/09 levels).
  • A 50% reduction in the overall time from inception to completion for new build and refurbished assets (based on industry standards in 2013).
  • A 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the built environment (compared to 1990).
  • A 50% reduction in the trade gap between total exports and total imports for construction products and materials (from February 2013 deficit of £6 billion).

These aims are to be tackled through the Construction Sector Deal, part of the Industrial Strategy.

Commons Briefing papers SN01432

Author: Chris Rhodes

Topics: Construction industry, Industry

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