How ironic that just as the construction industry is sucking in its tummy and preparing for savage cuts the latest survey by the buyers’ body CIPS shows some of the strongest growth experienced over the past decade.
As can be seen from graph on the right the current level of the index suggests a growth rate that would have been well received at most times in the period from 2000 to the credit crunch.
The survey suggests that activity in the housing and commercial sectors is gathering pace reasonably rapidly while the contraction in civil engineering work is easing. This can be seen in the graph below.
The index, which measures from 0 to 100 with 50 being no change, posted a 58.2 for overall activity in April after the 53.1 registered in March.
What's more, the respondents remain positive about the future activity on the expectation of winning more orders that will sustain growth in the coming year.
But the survey did find that optimism was being tempered by the uncertainty over potential cuts in public spending.
And there were downbeat results in the survey. Firms are on average continuing to cut jobs for the 23rd successive month and cost pressures are building as the cost of raw materials such as steel and fuel rise.
Given the rocky road ahead for construction, you can’t help but feel when we look at this graph in years to come that the results in this period may appear as a short-lived peak between two valleys.
The valley we have just departed was extemely deep, the question is how deep that second valley might prove to be.