Site labour rates start rising again

Labour rates on construction sites last month moved closer to the all-time high seen at the end of 2023.

Latest figures from the industry’s biggest payroll provider show average earnings for self-employed tradespeople increased to £1,017 per week during February – almost the same as the December peak of £1,044.

Hudson Contract said this followed the usual poor month of January when earnings dipped due to bad weather and some sites being slow to reopen after Christmas.

Average earnings in February were 2.3%  higher than the same month in 2023, highlighting resilience in demand for highly skilled subcontractors even in a sluggish market.

Hudson Contract’s managing director Ian Anfield said: “It’s definitely been a tough time for the new-build housing sector and it’s very early days but it feels like things could be turning round after a downturn caused by inflation and high interest rates.

“We have seen a slight improvement in per-client operative numbers and labour rates have continued to creep up.

“Clients are telling us that work on high-rise schemes in London and major cities such as Birmingham, Manchester and Sheffield is forging ahead.

“Others are spreading their reach into new counties and taking on new clients to maintain their turnovers and avoid the impact of the major house builders slowing production.”

Looking month to month, all regions were in positive territory in February with freelancers in Wales enjoying record high earnings of £1,103 per week.


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