“The pandemic hit the construction industry hard, but the latest ONS data shows that the level of unemployment has plummeted in recent months, and is now at its lowest figure in almost three years.
“At its peak in July-September 2020, there were 77,000 UK construction workers out of a job, which was the highest the country had seen since 2015.
“However, the number has fallen consistently since November, and now stands at 46,000, which is the first time it has dropped beneath pre-pandemic levels (50,000 in March-May 2020).
“In fact, construction unemployment is now at its lowest rate since summer 2019.
“The data suggests that many of the people who were previously unemployed have set up their own businesses. The amount of self-employed construction workers leapt by 11,000 between December and March, up to 245,000.
“Female construction workers are doing particularly well, and their employment figure has now fully recovered from the impact of Coronavirus. In March 2022, there were 119,000 women working in the industry, which is the first time in two years that it has surpassed the pre-pandemic benchmark (118,000).
“Furthermore, there appears to be plenty of work to go around. The average number of hours worked dropped slightly in the latest period, but at 36.1 hours a week, it remains considerably higher than previous years (34.8 in 2021, 31.7 in 2020).
“All of this contributes to the high levels of earnings currently being experienced. The average weekly income in construction rose to its highest ever amount in March (£746), and despite dropping in April (£697), it is still the second highest sum since records began in 2000.
“It’s impossible to tell the full story with statistics, but it’s certainly encouraging to see that some of the key industry figures are nearing a full recovery. With the Cost of Living crisis biting hard, such improvements are certainly timely, and they will need to continue in order to offset rising expenditure.”
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