May saw confidence pick up in the European construction sector, with month-on-month activity improving and greater optimism about the future. However, respondents to the CE Barometer survey still said that they had less work than a year ago – a feature of the market that has persisted since February 2012.

A positive balance of +3.1% of respondents said they were less busy in April than March, a turnaround from April’s result of -6.3%. The balance figure is the percentage of positive responses, minus the number of negative ones.

With the positive results in March and April sandwiching a month-on-month downturn in April, it is difficult to draw firm conclusions about the current direction of the market. This is not uncommon when the situation is finely balanced, or when the market is essentially flat over a period of several months.

However respondents to the CE Barometer survey remained up-beat about the future. A positive balance of +24.0% of those questioned said they thought activity would be higher in a year’s time, than in the current month. This was a much more robust response than April’s +8.4% balance figure and was more in line with the responses of +20% or more seen in the first quarter of the year.

The balance of positive month-on-month and forward looking results, combined with low activity levels compared to a year ago meant the CE Climate, a broad measure of confidence, was in fairly neutral territory at +2.8%. This measure of confidence has lacked any clear direction throughout 2013 having been firmly in negative territory for the second half of last year. This would suggest that the market is flat, or certainly lacking any clear direction.

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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