Sentiment on the European construction sector sank further in December as the winter set in and optimism waned, according to the latest CE Barometer survey.
It is common for a slowdown in construction during the winter months, particularly in Northern Europe, when weather can have a big impact on the industry. However, the winter so far has been mild, and the downturn in this month’s CE Barometer looks more to do with market sentiment.
Current activity clearly slowed in December, with a balance of -16.5% of respondents saying they were less busy than the previous month. The balance figure is the percentage of positive responses, minus the percentage of negative ones.
It was the second month in a row that this measure of confidence was in negative territory, and at -16.5%, there was a big drop from November’s figure of -6.5%. It was the lowest this measure of confidence has been for two years.
Another sign that the industry is in a genuine trough is the figure for activity levels compared to a year ago. A balance of -1.2% of respondents said they were less busy than in December 2013.
However, optimism for the coming year remained strong in December. A balance of +20.5% of respondents said they expected to be busier in a year’s time than they were now. Throughout the downturn of the last four or five months, this measure of confidence has remained fairly robust.
The survey, which takes just a one minute to complete, is open to all construction professionals working in Europe. The CE Barometer survey is open from the 1st to the 15th of each month on our website. Full information can be found at www.cebarometer.eu