|  Ramzi Chamat

The ups and downs of the construction sector in Switzerland in 2023 and the outlook for 2024.

In a world where the global economy experiences constant fluctuations, the construction sector, as a key indicator of economic growth, often finds itself at the forefront of these changes. In Switzerland, the year 2023 was a vivid testimony to this dynamic, with its ups and downs reflecting not only the state of the Swiss economy but also global trends. This sector, essential to infrastructure and development, faced various challenges, ranging from rising construction costs to fluctuations in interest rates, while demonstrating remarkable resilience to these obstacles.




The Swiss construction sector experienced a contrasting year in 2023, marked by significant challenges in the fourth quarter, yet also saw periods of growth throughout the year. The Swiss Society of Contractors (SSE) emphasizes the importance of 2024 in a context of great economic uncertainty.



I. 2023 Retrospective: A Year of Contrasts


The year 2023 was marked by significant highs and lows for the Swiss construction sector. While the last quarter saw a decrease in turnover, the year as a whole recorded slight growth.



II. Fourth Quarter 2023: A Notable Decline


From October to December 2023, the sector experienced a 1.1% decline in its turnover, bringing it down to 6.1 billion Swiss francs. This period also witnessed a 2.8% decrease in order entries, amounting to 5.3 billion francs. These figures reflect a decrease in demand and possible investor reluctance in the face of economic uncertainty.



III. A More Optimistic Annual View


Despite a challenging fourth quarter, 2023 saw a nominal increase in revenue of 0.7%, reaching 23.3 billion Swiss francs. However, this increase must be tempered by an inflation rate of 1.6%, implying an effective decrease of 0.9%. Order entries also experienced an annual decrease of 4%, amounting to 22.7 billion francs.



IV. Employment Stability in a Context of Labor Shortage


The construction sector maintained a stable unemployment rate of 3.4%, despite economic fluctuations. This stability is partly due to a shortage of skilled labor, prompting companies to retain their employees. This trend reflects the need for construction companies to adapt to a tight labor market while ensuring the continuity of their operations.



V. Forecasts for 2024: A Difficult Start to the Year


For the first quarter of 2024, the SSE anticipates a 0.5% decrease in revenue. This forecast is set against a backdrop of rising construction costs and higher interest rates, which could negatively impact the sector. This anticipation suggests that construction companies will face increased financial challenges, particularly in project financing and cost management.



VI. Analysis of the Situation


The evolution of the construction sector in Switzerland in 2023 and the forecasts for 2024 highlight several key trends. On the one hand, rising construction costs and interest rates create a challenging environment for the sector. On the other hand, the resilience of annual revenues and the stability of employment demonstrate a certain capacity for adaptation.


VII. Impact of Inflation and Rising Costs


Inflation and rising construction costs are key factors that have affected and will continue to affect the sector. These factors highlight the need for construction companies to revise their pricing and cost management strategies to remain competitive.


VIII. Consequences on Investments and Demand


Economic uncertainties and rising costs could influence investment decisions in the sector. Companies may face a decrease in demand, necessitating a more strategic approach to attract and retain clients.





In conclusion, the year 2023 was a period of challenges and opportunities for the Swiss construction sector. As 2024 is shaping up to be decisive, companies will need to navigate a complex landscape, marked by economic uncertainty, inflation, and rising construction costs. The ability of companies to adapt and innovate will be crucial for their success in this difficult period.

Recovery in construction demand in Switzerland in the third quarter 3.

Recovery in construction demand in Switzerland in the third quarter 3.

The regulation of constructions and installations in the Canton of Geneva.

The regulation of constructions and installations in the Canton of Geneva.