New house building lifted Europe in 2011

By Chris Sleight09 July 2012

Construction output in 2011. SOURCE: FIEC.

Construction output in 2011. SOURCE: FIEC.

New data from the European Construction Industry Federation (FIEC) show the region's construction output grew 1.4% last year to €1208 billion. However, it said that despite this tentative recovery, employment in the industry fell 3.5%.

FIEC vice-president Jacques Huillard said, "Our sector benefitted from the improvement in the general economic climate seen throughout 2010 and right up until 2011. So, after three years of decline, we could finally see a tentative recovery. However, this overall figure covers dramatic differences between the countries most severely hit by the financial and economic crises and those less severely hit."

According to FIEC, it was new house building activity that drove growth in 2011, with the sector seeing a 4.4% increase on 2010 levels. Repair and maintenance (R&M) activity across the construction industry also improved, with a 1.5% rise.

Civil engineering output was also up in 2011, but FIEC said that cuts in public spending meant the increase was only 0.7%. The non-residential sector was mixed last year, with privately-funded activity rising 1.6%, while the public component of the industry fell 2.5%.

Mr Huillard added, "During the most difficult times, it was mainly the civil engineering, public non-residential and R&M segments which kept business going, partly as a result of the recovery plans implemented in the various Member States. In 2011, on the other hand, stronger growth was to be found in the new residential and private non-residential sectors."

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