Workloads reported by members in the FIS Q2 State of Trade Survey have continued to trend positively with a higher balance (18% up from 5% in Q1) reporting Growth. Within this, 35% of members have experienced growth greater than 5% and just 29% reported a decline for the quarter. The balance (-7%) of respondents did, however, report a decline in sales in Q2 2023 with those reporting a growth in sales dropping from 75% to 43% quarter on quarter. This is the first time the net balance has been negative since Q3 2020.

This trend is consistent with data from Barbour ABI which has highlighted that most sectors have seen falls in terms of contract awards compared to Q1, with notably industrial reducing by 45% and healthcare by 50%. Conversely, awards over Q2 in education continued on a positive trend and the commercial sector remained relatively positive albeit volatile. NHBC has reported that Q2 new house building registrations fell in the UK by 42% compared with a year ago according. It should, however, be noted that was from a base almost double the long-term average. The numbers in 2022 were distorted as house builders worked to get ahead of the new building regulations.

Looking ahead to the next quarter, both sales and workload for the next quarter are trending positively, but the balance is lower than the past couple of quarters. There are still reports of work slipping with rising interest rates and concerns over compliance (particularly linked to staircases) impacting viability of projects. It is also worth noting that, whilst overall trend remains positive, 20% of members are expecting workload to slip by in excess of 5% in Q3.

Members can access the full FIS State of Trade Survey Q2 2023 here