The indicator is put together using information about past levels of activity, orders and tender enquiries to assess the prospects for construction. For the first quarter of 2003, the leading indicator shows a slight fall to +10%, down from +12% in the final quarter of 2002.
As for December's figures, activity levels continued to rise and there was a slight increase in the activity balance compared with November. Insufficient demand is proving to be less of a drag on growth, and the amount of work in hand has increased across all sectors.
Tender enquiries rose substantially following a September-November lull, and orders remained robust, with another substantial increase in the orders balance. Reflecting this, firms are more optimistic about tender prices and employment.