Cork ‘loses 9,000 jobs in construction’

OVER the last year 9,000 jobs were lost in the construction industry in Cork, resulting in a cost to the state of over €300 million, according to a new report.

And that downward spiral is set to continue, according to the 2009 annual report on the sector prepared by Joe O’Brien, director of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF).

The shocking figures will be presented this evening to the annual general meeting of the CIF’s Cork branch.

The 9,000 jobs figure excludes up to 3,600 other jobs that would have been dependant on construction jobs in Cork, according to the report.

It also shows that the number of people starting apprenticeships has fallen year-on-year.

“Apprentice registrations, both locally and nationally, have dropped again significantly in 2009,” said Mr O’Brien.

The implications for the exchequer in terms of lost revenue and the decrease in the numbers at work are substantial.

The job losses could cost the exchequer up to €162m annually in social welfare payments and €150m annually in lost revenue.

The report demonstrates the extent of the difficulties experienced by the construction industry in Cork throughout 2009, as job losses that had initially been confined to the house- building sector spread to every area of the construction industry, Mr O’Brien said.

Public investment in all areas of infrastructure has become the focus for construction companies due to the acute downturn in the residential and commercial property sectors.

The largest segment of such public sector investment is in civil engineering projects, which account for 32% of construction activity in the region. The decline in the civil engineering sector was less than in the other sectors.

“However, significant public infrastructure works such as the many road projects currently taking place throughout the country are due to be completed in 2010, and with very little new work coming on stream, the decline in this sector throughout 2010 and in 2011 will be very pronounced,” Mr O’Brien said.

The report shows that Cork, in line with the rest of the country, will see a combined decrease of 30% in civil engineering projects between 2008 and 2010.


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