JCB has said the surge in demand following a historic lull in work at the peak of the pandemic last spring is unlike anything it has seen in its “75-year history”.
The equipment maker has launched a “fresh recruitment drive” to hire 1,000 new permanent workers across its 11 plants in the UK. The hiring spree is on top of the 850 new workers the company said it has recruited since the start of the year.
“The recovery continues to gather momentum and we have tens of thousands of new machine orders sitting on our books stretching well into next year. We have never seen anything like this in the 75-year history of JCB,” chief executive Graeme Macdonald said.
In spring last year, the company said it was considering cutting up to 950 jobs in response to demand for its equipment halving as construction projects were suspended.
JCB’s swing in demand is reflected in the jump in activity levels reported by the Purchasing Managers Index, which recorded the highest level of new orders since 1997 in May.
Surging demand has contributed to problems securing some materials, particularly steel, timber and cement. The Construction Leadership Council warned last week that materials shortages were likely to last for most of 2021.