In April 2017, the economic climate improves clearly in civil engineeringQuaterly survey of public works - April 2017

According to the business managers surveyed in April 2017, the economic climate in civil engineering is much more favourable than in January 2017.

According to the business managers surveyed in April 2017, the economic climate in civil engineering is much more favourable than in January 2017.

Business managers' opinion on their activity has improved

In April 2017, more business managers than in January have reported an increase in their past activity. The corresponding balance of opinion has reached its highest level since July 2011, well above its long-term average. The balance of opinion about past activity for public sector has increased sharply; however, it is stable for private-sector projects. Business managers are also more optimistic about their activity over the next few months. The corresponding balance stands at a level unseen since April 2007, far above its long-term average. The balances of opinion have risen for both public-sector and private-sector projects.

Moreover, order books have filled up; the corresponding balance of opinion has improved significantly and stands well above its long-term average.

More production constraints

In April 2017, many more business managers than in January have felt constraints due to workforce shortage: 19% of businesses indicate being hampered because of a workforce shortage, against 14% on long-term average.

Employment prospects are still improving

Each quarter since a year, more and more business managers have forecast an increase in their workforce. The balance of opinion on expected workforce has reached in April 2017 its highest level since April 2008, well above its long-term average.

Table1 – Public works economic outlook

Balances of opinion, in %, SA
Public works economic outlook
Mean* July 16 Oct. 16 Jan. 17 April 17
Past activity –7 –2 11 13 22
- public-sector project –13 –18 1 1 12
- private-sector project –11 4 13 17 17
Expected activity –14 1 –2 2 16
- public-sector project –18 –6 –13 –9 10
- private-sector project –17 2 4 6 11
Opinion on order books –27 –41 –32 –25 –10
Obstacles to production increase because of workforce shortage (in %) 14 7 11 9 19
Expected workforce –16 –7 3 6 12
  • Note: the balances of opinion by costumer may differ from the balance of the whole, because sometimes the firms don't distinguish public-sector project and private-sector project.
  • * Mean since January 1981

Graph1 – Activity tendency in civil engineering

  • Sources : FNTP and INSEE