Around 60,000 UK construction jobs were lost last year and the industry is facing another decade of "pain", a new study has warned.
An annual skills report painted a "stark" picture in 2012, with a 20% downturn in public sector housing contracts, a 5% fall in the private housing sector and a 15% cut in road and other infrastructure construction.
The Construction Skills Network predicted falls in job levels every year until 2016, reaching a low of 2.3 million, the worst for more than a decade.
Recruitment is set to run at under 30,000 a year until 2017.
Spokeswoman Judy Lowe said: "We don't anticipate the industry returning to its former levels until at least 2022."