The West Midlands is bucking the downward trend seen in the building industry over the last three months, according to new figures.
The Federation of Master Builders said that nationally, 35 per cent of builders reported a fall in workload, against 31 per cent saying work had increased, giving a negative balance of minus four - the weakest figure since 1999.
In the West Midlands the situation was more positive, with an equal proportion reporting higher and lower workloads.
This represents an improvement on the results for the first half of the year, when the West Midlands reported negative growth, lagging behind the positive national trend.
The weak national picture masks other large swings in the results of several regions in England and Wales. Those working principally in London, the South-east and Yorkshire and Humberside also bucked the downward trend with more firms in these regions reporting an increase in work than during either of the previous two quarters.
Wales also continued to report a positive balance. The North-east saw the largest fall with almost half (48 per cent) of those surveyed saying workload was down.
Builders are even more optimistic in the West Midlands, where the positive balance is plus 13. Respondents were most optimistic for housing work, with expectations for both new build and repair and maintenance work of both private and social housing appearing stronger than they were three months ago.