October's activity balance remained stable compared with that recorded in September, as did the balances for tender enquiries and short-term employment prospects. However, the all-important order books balance became more heavily negative than in the previous months, and firms' optimism about short-term tender price prospects also dropped somewhat.
Of the five main survey indicators, three balances remained positive – those for activity, employment and tender price prospects. However, the balances for tender enquiries and order books stayed negative, with the latter dropping nine percentage points to -20%.
Results from October's survey indicate rising labour costs compared with the beginning of the third quarter of the year. Most firms in both the residential and non-residential building sectors, as well as those in the civil engineering sector, reported a rise in labour costs of between 2.6% and 5%.
This an extract from the monthly focus survey of construction activity undertaken by Construction Forecasting and Research on behalf of the European Commission as part of its suite of harmonised EU business surveys. The full survey results and further information on CFR's forecasts and services can be obtained from CFR by phoning 020-7808 7070 or logging on to www.constructionfutures.co.uk.
The survey is conducted monthly among some 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.