Practitioners working in with construction businesses could be forgiven for assuming that all was well in the sector, given recent press headlines.
The EU’s recent sentiment report indicated that confidence had remained broadly unchanged (down only 0.6 per cent) in its last quarterly report.
Meanwhile, the Markit/CIPS survey – released at the start of the year – actually said industry growth had increased in December.
Incredibly, this was against a background of increased contract scrutiny, heightened legal tensions between contractors, reducing staff headcounts and the prospect of work drying up in the South East after the 2012 Olympics.
One reason for this uplift in positivity maybe that the dates to which the data sets have been compared.
For example, set against the gloom of recent months, they do indeed look promising, but compare them to the buoyant times of three years ago and they don’t look quite so rosy.
Furthermore, those firms in the North of England and Scotland are likely to have been more positive in recent months because their businesses were affected long before their colleagues in the South and have already made many of the tricky decisions.