Insee conjoncture

In January 2018, the economic climate improves clearly in the building crafts sectorQuarterly survey of the building crafts sector - January 2018

In January 2018, many more building craftsmen than in October 2017 have indicated an increase in their past activity. The corresponding balance has bounced back sharply after a significant downturn in October 2017 and has returned above its long-term average. Likewise, the balance on expected activity has increased markedly and has exceeded its long-term average even more. Craftsmen are more optimistic than in October about the general business outlook in the building sector: the corresponding balance has bounced back in January 2018 and stands far above its long-term average.

Craftsmen's opinion on their activity is much more favourable than in October 2017

In January 2018, many more building craftsmen than in October 2017 have indicated an increase in their past activity. The corresponding balance has bounced back sharply after a significant downturn in October 2017 and has returned above its long-term average. Likewise, the balance on expected activity has increased markedly and has exceeded its long-term average even more. Craftsmen are more optimistic than in October about the general business outlook in the building sector: the corresponding balance has bounced back in January 2018 and stands far above its long-term average.

Nearly unchanged opinion on employment prospects

Practically as many craftsmen as in October 2017 plan to raise their staff size over the next few months. The corresponding balance has increased by one point and remains well above its long-term average. However, fewer craftsmen than in October 2017 have indicated an increase in their staff size over the last few months. The corresponding balance has decreased sharply but remains above its long-term average.

Recruitment problems continue to increase slightly and have returned to their long-term average

In January 2018, 41% of craftsmen have experienced recruiting problems, as many as on long-term average and more than during the last nine years. At the same time, 39% of craftsmen have indicated training apprentices, a share close to its long-term average.

Table1 – Building crafts sector economic outlook

Balances of opinion, in %, SA
Building crafts sector economic outlook
Mean* April 17 July 17 Oct. 17 Jan. 18
Past activity –6 –3 6 –6 9
Expected activity –9 –4 –1 –1 12
General business outlook –20 –4 7 5 10
Past employment –4 0 1 3 0
Expected employment –4 2 5 3 4
Recruiting problems (in %) 41 33 35 40 41
Apprentice training (in %) 38 37 39 40 39
  • * Mean since October 1990.
  • Source: French business survey, building crafts sector - INSEE

Graph1 – Activity tendency in the building crafts sector