Confidence in the European construction sector slipped in May, undermining the fragile recovery that had begun at the start of the year. Although results of this month's CE Barometer do not indicate a fall back into recession for the sector, the survey showed the sector was at a potential tipping point.
The length of the arrow on the CE barometer' clock' indicates the strength of the sentiment in the sector, so May's short arrow meant opinion was finely balanced between optimists and pessimists.
The positive results came in the future outlook, where a balance of +12.4% of respondents said they expected to be busier in a year's time than they were today. The balance figure is the percentage of positive responses, minus the number of negative ones.
However, as far as month-on-month activity was concerned, a balance of only +1% of respondents said their situation improved in May. Given that survey's like the CE Barometer have an error of +/-3%, this result could equally mean marginally negative sentiment.
Another worrying sign was the fact that a balance of respondents said they had less work now than a year ago. At -5.7%, the result of this survey question was in the red for the fourth month in succession.
The overall figure for the CE Climate - a combination of the results of all questions about sentiment - was +2.6% - still a positive result, but the weakest it has been all year. In April, this measure of confidence had stood at +12.6% - the highest since October. This highlights how confidence has sunk in May, wiping out the progress of the previous six months or so.
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