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  • Confidence in the construction industry in Scotland fell during the last quarter of 2013, due to concerns over rising costs of materials and supplies. However the Scottish Confidence Monitor rating is still in positive territory, recording a figure of +9, down from +18 in the third quarter. 34% of respondents stated that they were extremely concerned about the impact of rising supply costs on their business. 
  • Production in the construction sector in the euro area fell by 1.2% in October compared to September and by 2.4% compared to a year earlier, according to figures from Eurostat. Stronger performance in countries outside the euro area, including the UK, meant that output across the EU28 fell by 0.3% on the previous month and 0.8% on a year ago.
  • Aviva has made £500m available immediately to invest in UK infrastructure projects, this follows a pledge by Aviva and five other major insurers to invest £25bn in infrastructure over the next five years. 
  • The UK unemployment rate fell to 7.4% in the three months to October, down from 7.6% a month earlier, according to the ONS. The number of people in work rose by 250,000, the biggest jump since May to July 2010. Wage expectations are also increasing, a survey by the CBI found that 42% of firms expect salaries to grow in line with RPI inflation during 2014, the highest proportion since 2009.
  • Consumer Price Index inflation reached a four year low of 2.1% in November. Inflation looks set to rise in December due to the impact of energy price rises, but will remain just above the 2% target during the coming year, allowing the Bank of England to continue loose monetary policy.
  • Retail sales edged up in November, up 0.3% compared to October. However this followed a 0.9% fall in October as continued pressure on real wages holds back sales growth. The figures show that following an upturn in consumer spending in May, retail sales have been stable during the second half of the year, with the three months to November flat compared to the three months to August.

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