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Construction output falls by 2% in April

Monthly construction output fell by 2.0% in April 2021 compared with March 2021, falling to £13,961 million, and was the first month-on-month fall since December 2020 when output fell by 2.2% according to the Office of National Statistics.

This comes directly after a strong increase in March 2021, where output increased by 5.8%.

The fall occurred due to a decline in both new work and repair and maintenance work.

New work fell by 2.9% (£261 million) in April 2021 compared with March 2021, which was the first fall since December 2020 when it fell by 3.4% (£290 million). Private new housing was the largest contributor to the monthly decline, falling by 11.1% (£352 million), which was the largest decline since April 2020 when it fell by a record 59.1% (£1,714 million).

Private housing repair and maintenance and private commercial new work also saw large month-on-month falls of 7.1% (£144 million) and 6.2% (£134 million) respectively. As shown in Figure 6, the three largest contributors to the monthly decline in April 2021 all saw strong growth in March 2021.

However, despite the monthly fall, the April level of construction output was still 0.3% above the February 2020 pre-pandemic level. And, in contrast to the monthly fall, construction output grew by 5.1% in the three months to April 2021 compared with the previous three-month period, because of a 5.2% increase in new work and 4.9% increase in repair and maintenance.

While the April 2021 fall may feel disappointing to see, it is important to remember that there has been extraordinary growth in the earlier months this year. So extraordinary in fact, that it is likely to have been difficult to maintain, especially with the current material shortage.

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