Construction output growing faster than in rest of EU

Since the 3rd quarter of 2014, output in the Dutch construction industry has grown at a faster pace than the average across Europe. Statistics Netherlands reports the figures today based on Eurostat data. The construction industry is now a long way away from the historical low of early 2013.
During Q1 2016, construction output in the Netherlands was 17 percent higher than it was at the lowest point, a considerably higher increase than average around Europe. In the same period, European construction output was up by a mere 7 percent from the lowest level early in 2013. By contrast, growth in the Dutch construction output was slower compared to the average growth in Europe between early 2013 and mid-2014.
EU construction output (working day and seasonally adjusted)
EU construction output (working day and seasonally adjusted)
 EU28Netherlands
2006 I111.26103.77
2006 II114.62105.42
2006 III116.03108.11
2006 IV118.92109.73
2007 I119.48111.39
2007 II118.47113.16
2007 III118.26114.42
2007 IV118114.97
2008 I120.03117.17
2008 II115.88118.03
2008 III114.21117.68
2008 IV109.23118.38
2009 I107.56116.98
2009 II106.33113.96
2009 III104.61110.99
2009 IV102.29107.49
2010 I99.7196.9
2010 II103.73100.76
2010 III99.37101.17
2010 IV97.19100.99
2011 I98.55105.59
2011 II98.49100.27
2011 III98.1398.86
2011 IV97.0197.76
2012 I93.4495.27
2012 II92.7793.48
2012 III91.9592.3
2012 IV91.689.21
2013 I88.6987.83
2013 II90.2888.41
2013 III92.788.8
2013 IV92.1988.33
2014 I94.1590.16
2014 II93.6289.07
2014 III93.7991.22
2014 IV93.8295.15
2015 I94.4295.74
2015 II94.6398.75
2015 III94.1299.28
2015 IV94.93100.52
2016 I95.19102.67

Although the Netherlands has passed beyond the lowest point in the construction crisis, it has not yet returned to pre-crisis levels. At the beginning of 2016, Dutch construction output was still 12 percent below the level of early 2008, when the crisis was felt for the first time across the European construction industry as a whole. By early 2016, Europe’s building production was still 21 percent below pre-crisis levels.

German and Swiss construction firms barely noticed the crisis

Not in every European country was construction deeply affected by the crisis. In Germany and Switzerland, for example, construction output remained quite stable, remaining higher than before the crisis by early 2016.
In Q1 2016, Norway (+19 percent), Sweden (+12 percent) and Finland (+7 percent) reached output levels well above those in Q1 2008, although the crisis did affect output in these countries.
In southern Europe including Italy, Portugal, Greece and Spain, on the other hand, building production in Q1 2016 remained much lower relative to the same quarter in 2008. In Spain, for instance, production was 38 percent lower while in Greece it had even dropped by 75 percent.
At the same time, construction output in these two countries has seen some recovery over the past few years, unlike in other southern European countries. In Spain, the lowest point was reached already during Q2 2012, with construction output increasing by 30 percent since then. Greece’s output has grown by 32 percent since the lowest point was reached in early 2014.
Italy’s output last year was stable at 45 percent below the 2008 level. In Portugal, construction output is still dwindling and has meanwhile dropped to 59 percent below the 2008 level.
Construction output in Q1 of 2016 (working day and seasonally adjusted)
Construction output in Q1 of 2016 (working day and seasonally adjusted)
 Series 0
Norway19
Sweden12
Finland7
Germany3
Switzerland2
UK-4
Belgium-8
Netherlands-12
EU-21
Spain-38
Italy-45
Portugal-59
Greece-75

Construction accounting for over 5 percent of the European economy

Across Europe, 5.4 percent of the economy on average is in the construction industry. In the Netherlands , the industry now represents a smaller share with 4.6 percent, down from 5.8 percent in 2008. The countries with the relatively largest shares are found in eastern Europe including Poland, Romenia and Slovakia, where 8 to 9 percent of the economy’s total value added is contributed by the construction industry.
As Cyprus and Greece were hit harder by the construction crisis, the decline in their construction sector was relatively major: by 2015, the sector’s share in total value added was less than 3 percent, against 11.6 percent (Cyprus) and 7.3 percent (Greece) in 2007.
Share of construction industry in total value added 2015
Share of construction industry in total value added 2015
 Series 0
Slovakia 9.2
Romania8.5
Poland8.1
UK6.4
Spain5.5
EU5.4
France5.4
Germany4.7
Portugal4.6
Netherlands4.6
Greece2.6
Cyprus2.6

More than 14 million people across Europe active in construction

The significance of an industry for the national economy is clearly reflected in its employment figures. In all 28 EU member states in 2015, a total of over 14 million people were working in construction. Among them were 451 thousand people in the Netherlands.
Among the total working population in Europe, an average 6.3 percent work in construction. The share hovers around 7 percent in eastern European countries. In 2015, the highest share was found in Luxembourg with 10.2 percent of the labour force working in construction while the lowest share was seen in Greece (3.8 percent). In the Netherlands, 5.1 percent of the labour force are working in the construction industry.