A first quarter 2017 disappointing for the public works

Because of the difficult weather conditions and a recovery in activity is still too low, the activity of the public works stagnated in the first quarter. The FNTP estimates that outside of Paris, where projects have been assigned at the beginning of the year, the recovery is still expected in other territories.
The month of march marked a decline in activity for the members of the national Federation of public works (FNTP) : compared to the month of February, it decreased by 4.3 per cent. Throughout the quarter, the level remains even lower than it was at the beginning of 2016 (0.6% decrease). The professionals explain this situation by “difficult weather conditions” and a “recovery still soft (…) primarily related to a stabilisation of activity with the private sector“. On the side of the markets, concluded the month of march saw a sharp decline of the contracts concluded after two months of very dynamic (+21.4 per cent). Of the markets related to the Grand Paris had in fact been assigned to this period. The orders are therefore decreased (-19,4 % between February and march and -0,9 % between the 4th quarter of 2016 and 1 January 2017). However, on a year, the contracts concluded will remain on the rise (+9.3 per cent).


The total hours worked reflect the weak development of the activity : +1% compared to the first quarter of 2016. In the single month of march, the volume fell (- 1.2% in a month) “with a net reduction in the hours interim” note the FNTP (6.4 per cent compared to February). Their level remains however higher than in the same period in 2016 (+19 %). In respect of staff permanent workers, they have made progress between February and march 2017 (+0,7 %) but on the quarter as a whole, they remain lower than at the start of 2016 (-0,7 %).


A recovery that is desired
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  • Public works : strong growth in activity in February
  • Public works : the recovery is expected to continue into 2017


The results that the federation qualifies as “gloomy” and the revealing of the difficulties of the sector to climb back up the slope. But, according to its survey on business climate, the economic situation would improve : “In April 2017, entrepreneurs are more numerous than in January to indicate an increase in their activity in the past. The balance of opinion corresponding to reached the highest level since July 2011“. The activity seems to be greater scope for public-sector actors and by private clients. The business leaders say they are more optimistic for the coming months, thanks to the order books, which is regarnissent. Single bottleneck, the inadequacies of the workforce, affecting 19 % of the companies surveyed. “Each quarter, for a year, contractors are more and more numerous to anticipate an increase of their numbers, “according to the FNTP, which concludes on this positive note : “The balance of opinion on expected workforce size is reached and, in April 2017, its highest level since April 2008“. An encouraging sign.

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