As further evidence of the construction industry recovery, recent research shows that business is still improving for members of the Building and Engineering Association (B&ES), an article on The Construction Index reports.
According to the latest B&ES state of trade survey, covering the period of January to June this year, 58% of respondents across the sector noted an increase in their number of order books – that's twice as many as recorded in the last survey. Meanwhile, 50% of those surveyed had enjoyed higher enquiry levels.
Furthermore, there was shown to be a mounting confidence in future commercial prospects; 56% of those surveyed stated that they felt positive about the future, meaning that the 'net optimism measure' has risen from +35% six months ago, to +49% at present.
Although rising material costs were less apparent than at the beginning of the year, there was an increase in labour costs due to the remerging issue of skills shortage.
Recruitment figures were also encouraging, with 44% reporting that they expected to recruit in the latter half of the year, and 38% noting that they now employed more people than they did six months ago.
For B&ES chief executive Roderick Pettigrew, the figures show that "a sustained and increasingly robust recovery may genuinely be on its way."
"I am also pleased to note that our members are recruiting again – most significantly at apprentice and trainee level – especially in the light of the skills shortages that are already beginning to appear in many areas of the workforce," he added.
With many industry workers having moved from being self-employed to employed, the news also suggests that this has not had a negative impact on the overall performance of the industry.