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  • The Civil Engineering Contractors Association’s 2013 Q4 State of Trade Survey showed increasing workloads for the second consecutive quarter. A balance of 3% reported increasing orders, down significantly from a balance of 30% in Q3 2013. A balance of 48% of respondents expect to increase employment of operatives and staff over the coming 12 months.
  • The National Specialist Contractors Council’s 2013 Q4 State of Trade Survey showed that 60% of respondents expected increased workloads over the next 12 months. In a sign of emerging skills shortages, 26% of respondents indicated they are experiencing increasing difficulty recruiting good people. NSSC members also expressed concern over late payment, with 76% reporting payment between 30 and 60 days.
  • January’s Markit/CIPS Construction PMI registered 64.6 in January, representing the fastest rate of expansion in construction activity since August 2007. The rate of expansion increased in all three main sectors, with the housing activity measure increasing at its highest since November 2003 and commercial and civil engineering activity rising at the fastest rate since the summer of 2007. 



  • Manufacturing output in the final quarter of 2013 grew by 0.7% from the previous quarter, according to the ONS’ Index of Production. Manufacturing output was 1.9% higher than a year previous. January’s Markit/CIPS Manufacturing PMI registered 56.7, suggesting continued strong expansion in the sector. A survey of small and medium sized manufacturing firms, conducted by the CBI, showed the strongest intention to invest in buildings over the next year since the series begain in 1988.
  • The UK Trade deficit in goods and services closed sharply to £1bn in December 2013, down from £3.6bn in November and £2.4bn in December 2012. The UK trade deficit for 2013 as a whole was £29,853 billion, down from £33,640bn in 2012 but higher than the £23,260bn deficit in 2011.
  • The Q1 2014 ICAEW/Grant Thornton UK Business Confidence Monitor reported strengthening domestic growth and investment intentions, but growth in exports is not anticipated to increase in the coming 12 months. The Confidence Index stood at +37.2, a record high for the series.

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