This month’s market snapshot from Experian’s Business Strategies division shows that firms in most sectors are bowling along – and expect the good times to roll for the next three months

June proved to be another strong month for contractors, with the activity index remaining unchanged at 59 points. The orders index and tender enquiries index rose, highlighting the continued optimism in the industry.

Firms remain relatively optimistic about their short-term employment prospects, although the index did fall by one point in June. Optimism about tender prices continues to reach new heights.

According to survey respondents, levels of work-in-hand levels appear have decreased slightly in June compared with March in all three sectors, although activity in long-term projects in road work has risen.

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

According to the latest forecasts from the Euroconstruct group, of which Experian is the UK’s representative, the overall outlook for the European construction market is positive, with only three countries expected to experience a decline in output by 2006.

The main trend is that the eastern European member countries are likely to outperform their western European counterparts over the coming three years. The Czech and Slovak republics, Poland and Hungary are forecast to expand 24%, compared with 4% in western Europe.

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, and 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'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 from: 0870-196 8263,

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