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Building industry jobs fall -- more losses expected (Irish Independent)

04 November 2011

EMPLOYMENT in the building industry fell to a three-year low in November, as workers were not re-hired after the summer break.

Further job losses are expected after the latest survey of the industry found activity at the lowest point since 2000.

Yesterday, consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers forecast that the economy's output (GDP) would grow by 3.5pc this year, having expanded by almost 5pc last year.

"House prices are expected to continue to fall in early 2008, while residential construction investment and employment in the construction sector are also likely to fall," PwC say.

"The outlook for the external sector is less positive than in 2007 with the strength of the euro, combined with the slowing economies of Ireland's trading partners, set to see export demand ease over the year."

Its forecast is still higher than some estimates which see growth as low as 2pc this year. Much depends on the estimates for house building in 2008, which forecasters find difficult to gauge.

Yesterday's survey of around 1,000 building firms employing more than five people found a 2.5pc fall in jobs during November. This followed an 8pc drop in the previous month, leaving employment 5.4pc lower than in November 2006.

The figures provoked political reaction. Fine Gael enterprise, trade and employment spokesman Leo Varadkar said the Government's reliance on "an unsustainable debt-fuelled housing boom" has had a serious impact on the economy.