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  • The National Specialist Contractors Council Q1 2014 state of trade survey reported that 71% of respondents expect an increase in workloads over the next year, the highest result ever recorded by the survey. 80% of respondents reported an increase in suppliers’ prices, with no respondent indicating a decrease.
  • The Civil Engineering Contractors Association’s latest workloads trend survey reported a net balance of 40% of firms across Great Britain saw an increase in orders in Q1 2014. This was up dramatically from a balance of just 3% in the final quarter of 2014. A balance of 48% expect employment of operatives to rise over the next year.
  • The UK unemployment rate fell to 6.8% in the first quarter of 2014, according the Office for National Statistics. This was down from 6.9% in the three months to February, and its lowest rate since the three months to February 2009. A separate survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development found that British employers are planning to hire staff at the fastest rate since late 2007.
  • The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) upgraded its economic forecasts for this year and next, based on expectations of strong rises in business investment. They now predict the UK economy to grow by 3.0% this year and by 2.7% in 2015. 
  • British retail sales in April were 5.7% higher than a year ago, according to the British Retail Consortium. This boost was in part due to the Easter holiday falling in April this year, whereas it was in March in 2013; total retail spending over the three months to April was 1.9% higher than a year ago.

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