Economic Tendency Survey May 2018

Sharp drop in construction indicator

The Economic Tendency Indicator fell from 110.4 in April to 108.8 in May but still points to much brighter sentiment than normal in the economy.

The confidence indicator for the manufacturing industry continues to show a very strong situation despite falling slightly in May. Firms are happy with the size of their order books and plan to step up production in the coming months.

The confidence indicator for the building and civil engineering industry plummeted 8 points in May to its lowest for almost three years, due mainly to less positive expectations for employment over the next three months.

The confidence indicator for the retail trade climbed 1.9 points in May and is above the historical average. The grocery trade reported the strongest situation, whereas specialist retailers and the motor trade are more subdued than normal.

The confidence indicator for the service sector did not change appreciably in May and still points to a slightly stronger situation than normal. Firms reported strong demand but are relatively downbeat about how their operations have developed.

The consumer confidence indicator fell for a sixth successive month to a level below the historical average. The decrease was due to consumers being less optimistic about their personal finances over the coming year and increasingly negative about whether now is a good time to purchase durable goods.