In January 2017, the economic climate improves again in the building crafts sectorQuarterly survey of the building crafts sector - January 2017

In January 2017, more building craftsmen than in October 2016 indicate an increase in their past activity. The corresponding balance has moved above its long-term average for the first time since the second quarter of 2011. The balance on expected activity has clearly improved and has returned above its long-term average. Likewise, the opinion of craftsmen concerning the general business outlook in the building sector has improved; the corresponding balance has exceeded its long-term average even more.

Craftsmen's business prospects have improved

In January 2017, more building craftsmen than in October 2016 indicate an increase in their past activity. The corresponding balance has moved above its long-term average for the first time since the second quarter of 2011. The balance on expected activity has clearly improved and has returned above its long-term average. Likewise, the opinion of craftsmen concerning the general business outlook in the building sector has improved; the corresponding balance has exceeded its long-term average even more.

Employment prospects have recovered

Slightly more craftsmen than in October 2016 forecast to raise their staff size over the next few months. The corresponding balance of opinion has come back a shade above its long-term average. Conversely, more craftsmen than in October indicate a fall in their past staff size. The corresponding balance has fallen back below its long-term average.

Fewer than one business out of three has recruiting problems

In January 2017, 29% of businesses have experienced recruiting problems. This proportion is the same as last quarter and remains well below its long-term average (41%). One business out of three (34%) indicates training apprentices, a slightly lower share than last quarter and below its long-term average (38%).

Table1 – Building crafts sector economic outlook

Balances of opinion, in %, SA
Building crafts sector economic outlook
Mean* April 16 July 16 Oct. 16 Jan. 17
Past activity –6 –19 –8 –8 –4
Expected activity –9 –18 –5 –12 –3
General business outlook –21 –24 –13 –12 –8
Past employment –4 –6 –5 –2 –7
Expected employment –4 –6 –3 –5 –3
Recruiting problems (in %) 41 30 28 29 29
Apprentice training (in %) 38 36 38 35 34
  • * Mean since October 1990.
  • Source: French business survey, building crafts sector - INSEE

Graph1 – Activity tendency in the building crafts sector