Confidence in the European construction sector softened a little in December as the winter set in, but results of the survey remained positive.

The overall climate slipped a little from November’s balance figure of +21.9% to +21.6%, a move so small that it could be discounted. The balance figure is the percentage of positive responses, minus the number of negative ones.

On the negative side, sentiment about month-to-month activity fell from +10.8% in November and +13.4% in October to a positive balance of just +1.2%. While this could simply be a reflection of the seasonal nature of the industry, it is a potential cause for concern, and it will be crucial to see if this measure starts to move up again as part of the normal pattern in the spring.

On the positive side, there was increased optimism about the future. A positive balance of +43.5% of respondents said they expected activity levels to be higher in a year’s time. This result built on the positive results that have been seen all year in this measure of confidence, taking it to its highest level since early 2011.

So although not every measure of confidence improved in December compared to November, there is still evidence that a recovery has taken root in the European construction sector. However, it will be crucial to see how month-to-month activity levels develop in the first quarter of 2014.

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

Click here to read last month's CE Barometer results.

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