Construction Forecasting and Research's figures for October reveal an air of unease in the industry, particularly when you consider declining order books and dwindling economic confidence
The final quarter of the year looks likely to produce a real mix of results, with October's figures revealing some industry uncertainty over the future state of the market.

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%.

  • Please note that the seasonal adjustment factors have been updated in CFR's monthly data series and there has therefore been some change to the historic seasonally adjusted data. On most indicators, this adjustment has been only marginal. However, that on the balance for short-term employment prospects has been more significant.
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