Activity levels in the European construction sector took a dip in July, depressing an already weak industry. There is usually a seasonal slowdown at this time of year, but coming on the back of a poor first half, the impact has been more noticeable than usual this year. The balance figure is the percentage of positive responses, minus the number of negative ones.
The main symptom of this year's summer break has been a slump in current activity levels. A balance of -12.2% of respondents said activity was lower in July than in June. It was the first time since January that this measure of confidence has been in negative territory, although as an indicator, it has been weak since April.
Respondents to this month's survey also said that activity was lower than a year ago, with a negative balance of -10% saying they were less busy than in July 2012. It was the sixth consecutive month that this measure of confidence has been in negative territory, and this was the worst it has been since March.
On a positive note, a positive balance of +20% of respondents said they expected activity to be higher in a year's time. The sector has been strongly optimistic about prospects for 2013 all year.
However, this optimism could not prevent a sharp dip in the CE Climate, an amalgamation of the various questions about confidence. This broad measure fell to -0.7%, the first time it has been in negative territory this year.
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