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  • The fortunes of construction SMEs continue to improve, according to the Federation of Master Builders’ Q3 2014 State of Trade Survey. The overall workloads balance, measuring the difference in the number of firms reporting rising rather than falling output over the last three months, reached +35, the highest level since Q1 2001. The research supported evidence from other sources, including the Glenigan Index, that Scotland saw a retraction in activity over the third quarter of 2014 during the run up to the Scottish Independence referendum.


  • The UK unemployment rate fell to 6% during the three months to August, the lowest since October 2008, according to the latest Labour Market Statistics from the ONS. This rate has fallen rapidly over the last year, from 7.7% in the same three months of 2013 and 6.5% just three months earlier.
  • UK consumer price inflation fell even further in September to 1.2%, according to the ONS. This was the lowest level for five years and down from 1.5% in August, itself below the Bank of England’s 2% inflation target. A strong pound making imports cheaper, falling oil prices and a supermarket price war all pushed the rate downwards.
  • However September’s low level of inflation is still above the rate of earnings growth seen in the year to August, according to separate ONS figures. Average weekly earnings including bonuses were estimated to have risen by 0.8% in the three months to August compared to a year earlier.

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