RIGA, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- The Latvian construction sector grew by 19.5 percent over the past year, according to the data released on Monday by the Baltic country's national statistics office.
In 2017, Latvian construction sector's output totaled 1.73 billion euros at current prices, the statistics office said.
The growth was primarily driven by a 30.6 percent increase in construction of civil engineering structures, as construction of roads, streets, airfields and rail tracks quickened by 28.2 percent and construction of ports, waterways, dams and other waterworks jumped 51.4 percent year-on-year, said the office.
Construction of buildings rose 11.8 percent last year, mainly thanks to a 20.2 percent increase in construction of non-residential houses. Construction of residential buildings, meanwhile, slowed 11 percent from 2016.
Commenting on the 2017 construction statistics, the Latvian Economics Ministry noted that after two years of decline, growth resumed in the construction sector in 2017 and was likely to continue also this year, although at a somewhat slower rate.
The ministry attributed this renewed growth to the launch of a number of EU-funded development projects in Latvia.
Baiba Fromane, the head of the Latvian Partnership of Building Contractors, projected the country's construction sector to grow by 15-20 percent in 2018, as work is about to begin on a number of major private and EU-funded projects this year.
The expert indicated, however, that the sharp drop and the following upswing had left their impact on the industry, which was now struggling with serious labor shortages as many builders have either changed profession or emigrated during the period of decline.