Business confidence in the European construction sector weakened slightly in September according to the latest results of the CE Barometer. The overall climate in the industry fell to its lowest since January 2010 and sentiment on the future outlook for the industry was also weak.
On the positive side, there was a rebound in current activity compared to August, with a positive balance of +9.3% of respondents saying their workload had picked up in September. Although this was an improvement on last month's negative result, it was still a low score compared to the first half of 2011.
Other measures of confidence also looked weak compared to a few months ago. A positive balance of just +11.1% said activity levels in September were higher than a year ago. Most striking of all was the +6.5% of people that said they expected activity to be higher in a year's time. For most of the last 18 months this indicator has been above +20% and at the start of 2011 it was close to +50%.
This meant that the overall industry climate - a composite measure of all these factors - came in at just +9.0% - similar territory to where it was in July and August, but significantly lower than its position in the first half of 2011, and all of last year.
The seasonal pattern of the CE Barometer is such that there is normally a drop in results over the summer months. So while the low scores of the last three months may be nothing to worry about, it also has to be said that the fall has been more pronounced this year than in the past.
Results of the CE Barometer over the next few months will show whether this has been a normal seasonal slowdown, or whether there are more fundamental issues for the European construction sector.
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