5 March 2015 Industry Update

Building and construction activity update

Building and construction activity remains high, despite some areas of the industry showing a continued downturn in the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Construction is one of the biggest contributors to growth in Australia, only coming in behind the Mining and Financial Services sectors.

Commercial construction of offices, shops, hotels and other non-residential buildings remains at very high levels, in contrast to the recent decline in construction spending on road, bridges and other infrastructure.

The latest ABS figures show that the value of non-residential work under construction remains near decade-long highs at $55 billion. In particular, private sector construction in this category is still growing strongly to record highs, although this is being partially offset by a decrease in public sector funded projects.

The value of non-residential work completed continued its recent upturn, moving to almost $9 billion again in the September 2014 quarter, and the value of non-residential building work yet to start also remains at decade highs, around the $25 billion mark.

On the other hand, the construction of major engineering projects such as roads, bridges, water, sewerage and other infrastructure continues to decline, after experiencing a surge over the last decade.

The value of engineering work completed has declined to 2011 levels at around $28 billion and the pipeline of work yet to be done has dropped from highs of $169 billion two years ago to below $105 billion in September 2014.

According to the ABS, the construction industry employed 1,057,900 workers in November 2014.

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