We present PMR’s forecasts and projections for 2016 concerning construction output, average wages and employment. All the forecasts are given in nominal terms and their real values differ slightly due to price changes in construction output.
Total construction output
Between 2011 and 2016, increased construction output will be observed in all the countries with the exception of Poland. The highest cumulative increases for analysed period will be noted in Romania and Bulgaria: 50% and 40%, respectively. The cumulative growth in the other countries will range between 2.5% in Hungary to slightly higher than 10% in Czech Republic. Despite a robust recovery, Poland’s construction output in 2016 will be at best slightly lower than was seen in 2011.
Average wage in construction
In 2011-2016, Poland is expected to see the weakest wage growth out of all the considered countries (only 7% cumulative growth) due to the expected recession in the construction sector. The recession will decrease the non-fixed element of wages in this sector. On the other hand, Bulgaria is expected to experience the fastest regional growth – greater than 37% cumulatively – due not only to the sector’s expected expansion, but also because Bulgaria will demonstrate the highest wage growth among any economy in the region due to strong mismatches on its labour market. Also the falling labour supply will contribute to the increases in wages.
Employment in the construction sector
In 2016, employment in the sector for all the countries will be lower than was seen in 2011. A steep cumulative decline, reaching -7.5%, is expected in Poland due to a projected recession in this sector. The rate of recovery in other countries will be insufficient to keep employment at the same levels observed in 2012. A surprising fall in employment is expected to occur in Romania and Bulgaria as a result of two factors: a rapid growth of prices in construction (which will make real growth in the sector weaker) as well as the fastest growth of labour productivity across the region in this sector.
One could argue that when looking at the construction market in the selected CEE countries it would be best to divide those states into three groups. As Romania and Bulgaria will have the highest growth rates, they will comprise the first group. This is because these two countries have just begun to benefit from the large number of public investments co-financed by EU funds. The second group will be made up of countries demonstrating slower recoveries and higher risks, i.e., Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. The third group consists of one country, Poland, because of its notable recession. Nevertheless, even in this country recovery and growth are expected in 2014 due to, among other reasons, huge increases in public investment resulting from a renewed flow of EU funds. Hence in 2016 Poland will be the only country beside Romania, that will have construction output higher than was seen prior to the 2008-2009 economic crisis.