August saw some improvement in European construction activity according to the results of the CE Barometer survey. However, the industry remained at a low ebb compared to the position two years ago.

It was the first time in almost two years that respondents to the survey were positive on all three measures of confidence. A balance of +2.1% said they were busier in August than the previous month, while +4.2% said they were busier than a year ago and +30.2% said they expected activity levels to be higher in a year’s time. The balance figure is the percentage of positive responses, minus the number of negative ones.

The key turnaround was the response to the question about activity levels compared to a year ago. This has been deeply in negative territory since early 2012. Of the other confidence measures, results about month-to-month activity have wavered either side of 0 since mid-2011, but respondents have been consistently positive about future prospects since the final quarter of 2012.

As a result of these figures, the CE Climate, a composite measure of confidence stood at +12.2%, the highest it has been since August 2011, but some way from the levels of +25% or more that have previously characterised a consistent market recovery.

It would also be dangerous to herald an industry recovery on one month’s data. Experience has shown the CE barometer can be susceptible to one-off peaks & troughs.

Take part

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

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