Construction industry contracts for 34th month: Midday roundup

The construction industry’s woes are continuing this morning, with the latest data showing the sector has contracted for its 34th consecutive month.

 

The Australian Industry Group/Housing Industry Association report on the performance of the construction industry for March indicates it has fallen a further 6.6 point on the index to 39 points.

Readings below 50 indicate the sector is contracting, suggesting there is less construction work.

In February there had been some encouraging signs, with the number of houses being built growing for the first time in nearly three years, but this has now been erased.

The worst performing sector was commercial construction, registering a mere 29.2 points on the index, but engineering construction posted the steepest decline, dropping 14.8 points.

Job advertisements drop in March

Job advertisements have declined 1.5% in March, with the number of jobs advertised on the internet falling 1.6%.

Despite the drop in internet advertisements, the ANZ Australian Job Advertisement report for March shows jobs advertised in newspapers increased by 1.8%, with analysts suggesting this reflects the different advertising patterns seen over the Easter long weekend.

The overall decline in March is in contrast to February when job advertisements increased by 3%. ANZ head of macroeconomics Katie Dean said in a statement the figures indicate advertisements are stabilising.

“Job advertisements are now modestly higher than their levels three months ago. However, at this stage, it is too early to tell whether this indicates a sustained pick-up in hiring intentions,” she said.

Service Stream chief resigns

Graeme Sumner, the managing director of Service Stream, has resigned and is set to leave the company by the end of April.

The business holds a number of contracts with the National Broadband Network worth over $1 billion. In a statement, chairman Peter Dempsey said the company was left in a good position.

“Non-executive board member Brett Gallagher will become executive director on an interim basis while we undertake an executive search process to find a replacement for Graeme,” he said.

Shares open steady

Australian shares have opened flat this morning, with some resources stocks performing well.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark was up 4.7 points to 4896.1 just after midday.

Shares in BHP Billiton had gained $0.35 to $32.59, but Rio Tinto stocks had fallen $0.82 to $54.78, indicating mixed results for the sector.

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