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London is one of just two areas in Britain that will see employment levels grow in construction, according to a new study.

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The industry lost around 60,000 jobs last year, and is facing another decade of “pain”, the annual skills report said.

The report painted a “stark” picture in 2012, with a 20 per cent downturn in public sector housing contracts, a 5 per cent fall in the private housing sector and a 15 per cent cut in road and other infrastructure construction.

The Construction Skills Network predicted falls in job levels every year until 2016, reaching a low of 2.3million, the worst for over a decade.

Recruitment is set to run at under 30,000 a year from now until 2017, mainly to fill vacancies arising from workers leaving, said the report.

Only Greater London and the East of England will see employment levels grow, according to the research.

Spokeswoman Judy Lowe said construction had found itself at the centre of a “perfect storm” last year, hit by public spending cuts and a lack of investment in the private sector.

“Worryingly, the outlook doesn’t look much better. By 2017 construction output will still be 12 per cent down on its 2007 peak, and employment 17 per cent down on its peak in 2008.

“We don’t anticipate the industry returning to its former levels until at least 2022, meaning this will be one of the most difficult periods for construction on record.”

There are around 150,000 unemployed construction workers, potentially costing the economy £2.1billion a year in benefits and lost tax revenue, the report added.

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