The February figures for new orders were worse than the January figures which were the worst monthly figures ever recorded.

There is perhaps little to add to the comments made last month other than to say if you are looking for optimism, perhaps the social housing sector may offer a few crumbs of comfort as the tide of recession washes in.

It's early days to call an upturn there, it's a small sector and house builders are crawling all over it, but, still, every other sector looks bleaker than bleak if you just take the recent run of new orders data.