In this month’s Tracker, Experian Business Strategies reports a February slowdown but expects growth in the UK construction industry to gather speed in the three months to June
Last month’s tracker showed particularly strong growth in January. That tailed off sharply in February: the index for contractors’ activity dropped by eight points to 55.

The orders index showed only a small decrease from its position in January, and the tender enquiries index remained constant.

The indices for tender price and employment also remained relatively unchanged, and firms continued to be optimistic about the short-term prospects in both of these measures.

CFR’s Leading Construction Activity

Indicator, which provides a short-term forecast

of activity levels in the industry, indicates continuing growth in activity over the next

three months.

According to the latest update from Experian’s construction forecasting and research team, the volume of construction output increased 4.5% in 2003, outstripping the 2.3% rise in GDP. The outlook for this year is positive, although

growth is expected to moderate to 3.2%. This in turn is expected to slow to 2.6% in 2005,

before returning in 2006 to 3.3%. Public

housing is expected to be the strongest

growth sector over the forecast period, driven

by the government’s decent homes policy in

this area.

On the regional front, the strongest growth in activity was in the East Midlands, and the largest declines were in Yorkshire and Humberside and Northern Ireland. Growth in order books was strongest in the north of England.

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. In addition 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 European Union business surveys. The full survey results and further information on Experian Business Strategies division’s forecasts and services can be obtained from 0870-1968 263 and


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