With hugging, indoor leisure, and some international travel back on the agenda this week, Boris Johnson has urged a “heavy dose of caution”. The same could be said for current news items with some misleading comparisons. Given the severity and timing of last year’s nadir, it is more important than ever to see data in context.
The week’s data on construction output is encouraging with further improvement to all new work levels. However, the recovery is still unbalanced between sectors, although some sectors will still be more affected by restraints imposed by social distancing which could drive productivity, and therefore output, down.
The positivity of increasing construction output and an improving jobs market could put pressure on wages, especially if output increases beyond the capacity of the labour market and there are no innovative improvements to productivity, especially in light of the UK’s ‘missing workers’ who have returned to the EU during the pandemic and Brexit.