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Construction worker carrying plans

Demand for construction and groundworkers has surpassed the pre-lockdown peak, suggesting that the rest of the UK construction industry is about to experience a significant upturn.

Analysis of payroll data by Hudson Contract, the industry's biggest payer of subcontractors, shows that the number of groundworks operatives paid in the week beginning 29th June reached 6,467. This exceeds the previous high of 6,261 - recorded in the week of 16th March, just before lockdown - and shows how far the construction industry has recovered since the low point of 1,735 in the week of 20th April.

Groundworkers typically prepare construction sites for the foundations of new homes. Ian Anfield, Hudson's managing director, said:

"Every trade follows the groundworkers, so they are the best indicator of what is happening.

"We are quite surprised at these findings because a number of our large clients have not yet returned to full capacity with their labour needs.

"But many smaller construction firms are very busy as a result of pent-up demand to complete smaller housing developments."

Overall, labour demand dropped to 30% of capacity during April but has now recovered to 74%, according to Hudson.

This development comes hot on the heels of positive news and government announcements from the last two months. Construction output rose by 8.2% in May after the record cliff-edge fall suffered in April at the height of the industry's lockdown. And with Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announcing huge plans to provide career opportunities, it looks like the UK construction industry is going from strength to strength even in this difficult time.

Experts are now urging people to think about learning a trade and pursuing career in construction to help fill the demand that will arise in the coming months and 2021 as the UK gets back on its feet.

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