Thousands more jobs could be lost in the civils sector amid a worsening climate, the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) has warned.
CECA's Workloads Trends Survey in July 2009 had raised hopes that the civil engineering sector had already reached its lowest points.
But the association warned that civils was now entering a second downturn.
CECA said that expectations of future workloads have collapsed. Half of all firms now expect to have less work this time next year, while 9% expect increased workloads.
The effect of falling workloads is "likely to have a consequential negative impact on employment in a sector that currently employs around 100,000 people," the association cautioned.ADVERTISEMENT
The survey indicates that 42% of firms expect to make cuts to the number of site operatives they employ in the coming year, while 33% will reduce their staff headcount. Only 6% expect to be hiring operatives, while just 3% anticipate taking on new staff.
The poor future expectations reflect the difficult trading conditions currently experienced by members. At -64%, the balance between those firms reporting increased workloads in the last year (8%) and those reporting reduced workloads (72%) is the worst result in the survey's 13-year history.
Commenting on the results, CECA National director Rosemary Beales said: "While the Bank of England may think that the worst of the recession may be behind us, this is clearly not the view of the civil engineering sector. CECA members have grave concerns about the future, which should be shared by anyone who recognises the key role that the civil engineering sector must play in delivering and maintaining the infrastructure that is essential for the UK's economic recovery.
"CECA has an active programme of engagement with MPs and prospective parliamentary candidates ahead of the coming General Election to highlight the importance of the civil engineering sector to the UK and press the case for continued public sector spending."
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