Figures just in for September complete the picture for the third quarter of 2002, and they show a market that is holding firm. Construction Forecasting and Research presents the facts
More good news on the state of the market. Most results for the third quarter of this year show an improvement compared with the second quarter, and a similar profile to that in the third quarter of 2001.

The activity balance for the three months turned mildly positive after a marginally negative result in the previous one. Balances on tender enquiries, order books and tender price prospects were all better in the than in the second, and employment prospects remained the same.

Compared with the same quarter of 2001, the balances on activity, tender enquiries and tender price prospects were similar, and those for order books and employment prospects were a little worse.

Most respondents reported work-in-hand of between three months and six months in the third quarter. The biggest change was in the civil engineering sector, with the percentage of firms reporting six months of work-in-hand dropping from 42% in the second quarter to 0% in the third.

Construction output was very buoyant in the first half of this year, according to the DTI, up 7.5% in constant prices compared with the same period in 2001. Finally, new orders figures for the third quarter have recently been published, showing a 22% rise on the second quarter in real terms.

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. In addition, quarterly questions seek information on materials costs, labour costs and work-in-hand.