This month, Experian Business Strategies predicts that construction growth will continue its slowdown – and explains why it’s better to be working in Yorkshire or the North than London

Contractors’ activity continued to grow in February, although at a slightly reduced rate, as the activity index fell two points to 54.

The tender enquiries index climbed one point from January to 58, and the orders index was unchanged at 69 points.

Optimism surrounding the short-term employment prospects in the industry is slightly increased, with the index up one point from January at 53. Optimism regarding tender prices, however, decreased in February, down three points to 62.

The Leading Construction Activity Indicator, which provides a short-term forecast of activity levels in the industry, indicates growth in construction activity continuing at a similar rate over the next three months.

New work construction output increased 3.5% between 2003 and 2004 nationwide. The greatest increase came in public housing where output was 20% greater in 2004 than in 2003, and the public non-residential sector also recorded substantial increases, up 15%. The infrastructure sector was the only sector in which output fell in constant prices, down 13% over the same period.

Regionally, Yorkshire and Humberside recorded the greatest year-on-year increase, with total output up 21% in current prices. The South-west and Wales also performed well, both recording an increase of 16%, whereas the smallest growth was recorded in London, where total output was up just 3% from 2003.

This an extract from the monthly Focus survey of construction activity undertaken by Experian’s Business Strategies division on behalf of the European Commission as part of its suite of harmonised EU business surveys. The full survey results and further information on Experian Business Strategies division’s forecasts and services can be obtained by calling 0870-196 8263 or visiting

The survey is conducted monthly among 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. Quarterly questions also seek information on materials costs, labour costs and work in hand.


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