State of Trade Front cover Q3 2023.JPG

For more than 30 years, the FMB's State of Trade Survey has monitored key indicators and predicted future short-term developments in the UK construction industry.

It is the only survey of its kind to focus exclusively on micro, small and medium-sized (SME) firms throughout the construction sector.

Market conditions

  • There has been a decrease in total workload, enquires and employment over Q3 of 2023, seemingly driven by a poor performing housebuilding and industrial and commercial sectors.
  • 40% of FMB members reported a decrease in enquiries.
  • RMI reported workloads remain positive, but have dropped off since Q2 2023.


  • Overall, difficulty in recruitment has slightly increased.
  • 39% of members are struggling to hire carpenters with 34% struggling to hire bricklayers.
  • There has been a sharp upturn in difficulty hiring general labourers, with 35% reporting problems (up from 25% in Q2)
  • Half of FMB members report that jobs are delayed because they are struggling to hire skilled workers.

Changes in prices and costs

  • 71% of members report that material costs increased in Q3 2023 with 55% expecting this to continue into the next quarter, which is an improvement on previous quarters.
  • The impact of increased outgoings has led to 71% of members increasing the prices they charge, with half reporting that the business in on track to make a loss or fall below expected margins.
  • Over a quarter report that they are restricting hiring new staff as a consequence of increased outgoings.

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