It seems that the government’s acceleration in capital spending has not had as large an impact on workloads as might have been expected

New enquiries do seem to be picking up. Even the beleaguered private commercial and industrial sectors saw more respondents talking about a rise than a fall in enquiries. Yet this does not appear to be translating into a general air of optimism about the future.

Workloads are projected to be slightly higher for the next 12 months but the positive balance is so modest that it doesn’t inspire any real level of conviction.

The disconnect between the more upbeat response to enquiry levels and the gloomy expectations for work may reflect continuing concerns over the availability of development finance.

Significantly, 29% more respondents to the survey expect profits to drop further than begin to edge back up.