Construction jobs dwindled in April as house building activity contracted for the ninth month in a row, according to an industry survey.
The Australian Industry Group/Housing Industry Association Performance of Construction Index (PCI) report also recorded a 13th month of shrinking apartment building activity.
“Employment fell further in April and at a rate that was the steepest in almost six years,” Ai Group head of policy Peter Burn said.
“Falls in approvals, commencements and work in the pipeline is continuing to weigh on workloads for residential builders,” the report said, with businesses responding to lower demand by “exerting greater caution in their labour recruitment”.
“Residential building respondents to the Australian PCI cited reduced customer enquiries as well as the negative influences of tighter lending conditions, falling prices and generally weak home buyer sentiment,” the report said.
“The home building pipeline is shrinking as the number of new home approvals slows,” HIA economist Tom Devitt said, adding that construction industry businesses’ profit margins were being squeezed.
“The slowing in the cost of building materials will need to continue as new home builders are facing tighter margins as they compete for sales in a market where the price of established houses is falling,” Mr Devitt said.
“The home building industry remains in a delicate position”.