In October 2017, building craftsmen are less optimistic about the business prospectsQuarterly survey of the building crafts sector - October 2017

In October 2017, far fewer building craftsmen than in July have indicated an increase in their past activity. The corresponding balance has fallen back sharply after a significant rise in July and has returned to its long-term average. The balance on expected activity has faltered but remains above its long-term average. For the first time since January 2015, craftsmen are less optimistic than in the previous quarter about the general business outlook in the building sector. The corresponding balance has slipped back after jumping in July, while remaining well above its long-term average.

Craftsmen's opinion on their activity is less favourable than in July

In October 2017, far fewer building craftsmen than in July have indicated an increase in their past activity. The corresponding balance has fallen back sharply after a significant rise in July and has returned to its long-term average. The balance on expected activity has faltered but remains above its long-term average. For the first time since January 2015, craftsmen are less optimistic than in the previous quarter about the general business outlook in the building sector. The corresponding balance has slipped back after jumping in July, while remaining well above its long-term average.

Employment prospects are slightly less high

Slightly fewer craftsmen than in July 2017 forecast to raise their staff size over the next few months. The corresponding balance of opinion has fallen back but still stands well above its long-term average. However, more craftsmen than in July have indicated an increase in their past staff size. The corresponding balance exceeds its long-term average even more.

Two businesses out of five have recruiting problems

In October 2017, 40% of craftsmen have experienced recruiting problems, more than last quarter and almost as many as on long-term average (41%). At the same time, 40% of craftsmen have indicated training apprentices, a share slightly higher than on long-term average.

Table1 – Building crafts sector economic outlook

Balances of opinion, in %, SA
Building crafts sector economic outlook
Mean* Jan. 17 April 17 July 17 Oct. 17
Past activity –6 –2 –3 6 –6
Expected activity –9 1 –4 –1 –2
General business outlook –21 –8 –4 7 3
Past employment –4 –5 0 1 4
Expected employment –4 –2 2 5 3
Recruiting problems (in %) 41 30 33 35 40
Apprentice training (in %) 38 35 37 39 40
  • * Mean since October 1990.
  • Source: INSEE - French business survey, building crafts sector

Graph1 – Activity tendency in the building crafts sector