In this month's industry overview, Experian Business Strategies reports that pre-Christmas growth has been as stable as the nativity scene, and is expected to remain so into the new year
The growth in Construction activity remained stable between September and October, with the activity index at 57 points*.

The orders and tender prices indices were both down this month, whereas the tender enquiries index remained unchanged, and employment prospects one rose.

The number of respondents citing constraints on activity levels rose from 49% to 54%. Those naming insufficient demand as a constraint rose by four points to 23%, and the percentage of respondents citing labour shortage as a constraint fell two to 16%.

Growth in the UK's construction industry is expected to remain steady over the next three months, according to Construction Forecasting and Research's Leading Construction Activity Indicator.

The indicator, which provides a short-term forecast of activity levels, is likely to remain at 53 between November and February, suggesting no change in the rate of growth.

According to the latest figures from the DTI, construction orders in Great Britain increased by 0.2% between the second and third quarters of 2003. However, this was 9% less than the third quarter of 2002.

Both the public non-residential and the industrial sectors saw their orders rise in the third quarter of 2003, but commercial and infrastructure orders were down between the third quarters of 2002 and 2003 by 16% and 40% respectively.

The survey is conducted monthly among about 800 firms throughout the UK and the analysis is broken down by size of firm, sector of the industry and region. The results are weighted to reflect the size of respondents. In addition to the results published in this extract, all of the monthly topics are available by sector, region and size of firm. In addition, quarterly questions seek information on materials costs, labour costs and work in hand.

This an extract from the monthly focus survey of construction activity undertaken by Experian Business Strategies on behalf of the European Commission as part of its suite of harmonised European Union business surveys. Full survey results and further information on Experian Business Strategies forecasts and services can be obtained by calling 0870-196 8263 or by visiting its website


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