Although activity in the construction sector slowed during the last few months of 2013, employment and new starts within the industry continued to grow.
The Australian Industry Group’s (AIG’s) December 2013 Performance of Construction Index fell 4.4 points to 50.8, just above the 50-point level that separates growth and contraction.
Engineering construction was the main influence on the decline, slipping 6.4 points back to 46.1, signaling contraction within the sector.
This is largely due to the waning mining construction boom. As mining transitions from construction to production, engineering and construction employment opportunities are expected to continue to fall.
Resources project construction employment is expected to peak this year before falling significantly before 2018, according to the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency’s ‘Resources sector skills needs 2013’ report.
While opportunities for apprenticeships, training and employment are expected to decline in construction, jobs are forecast to increase steadily in mining operations.
Additionally, the report expects a 57 per cent growth in employment in the burgeoning oil and gas operations sector.
With the decrease in new resources projects, opportunities for mining construction apprenticeships and traineeships in Queensland are expected to fall after 2014.
However with a current industry index result well ahead of the 2013 average (43.9), the expanding residential building sector should create numerous opportunities for those seeking construction apprenticeships in Queensland.
“In line with the easing of the mining investment boom, engineering construction was weaker in December and with further falls in store; the time is ripe for a much more decisive focus on building new and upgrading existing transport infrastructure,” AIG Director Peter Burn said in a January 8 media release.
New home building remains the strongest performing construction sector, recording an industry growth index of 63.5.
Much of the growth within the construction industry is attributed to new orders and construction starts, with this sub-sector registering an index result of 58.6 in December 2013.
“Low interest rates are clearly having their long-awaited impact and the continued growth of new orders means that builders – and the manufacturing and service industries that are linked to the commercial and residential construction sectors – can look forward to 2014 with a greater degree of confidence than prevailed only a few months ago,” Mr Burn said.
By Leanne de Toerkenczy, Public Relations Coordinator