February saw another marginal improvement in confidence in the European construction sector, with month-on-month activity picking up, and a clear improvement in sentiment about the future.
After three months of falling month-on-month activity, a balance - the number of positive responses minus the number of negative ones - of +0.8% of respondents to the February survey said they were busier this month than in January. An up-tick in February is part of the normal seasonal pattern for the CE Barometer, but this improvement is particularly welcome given there was a pronounced dip in current activity over the previous three months.
And once again, there was a strong improvement in sentiment about the future. A balance of +20.4% of respondents said they expected activity to be higher in a year's time than at present. This is the strongest this measure of confidence has been since August last year.
However, it was not all good news. A negative balance of -1.8% of respondents said they were less busy now than they were a year ago. This measure of confidence has been in low positive territory since November, but this was the first time there was a negative result.
Overall, these results contributed to an improvement in the CE Climate Index, which moved up from +4.1% in January to +6.5% this month. It was the third straight month of improvements in this measure, following the CE Climate dipping sharply into the red in November last year, as the Euro-zone debt crisis reached its peak.
So as in January, the CE Barometer took another step in the right direction this month. However, overall levels of confidence remained significantly below what was seen in the first nine months or so of last year, indicating that sentiment is still fragile.
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