Whatever the current worries facing those working in construction, they can reflect on the past 10 years with satisfaction when it comes to pay and hours worked.

Pay has risen far faster than for most other sectors and the number of paid working hours has fallen.

Delving into the 2008 Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) , released today, shows how in the year to April the average earning male working in construction took home £598.8 gross a week, up 4.6% on the year.

This compares with the average of £580.7 for male workers across all industries.

Doing some rough and ready sums comparing the average gross weekly earnings with a decade earlier shows how construction has advanced in the pay league. In 2008 earnings in construction were almost 8% behind the industry average. Today they are about 3% ahead.

In real terms (using GDP deflators to account for inflation) those working in construction have seen a 24% increase in pay compared with an average across all industries of 11.4%.

What is more this money is being earned on fewer hours worked. The average working week in construction in 1998 was 44.6 hours. The 2008 figure is put at 42.9.