The buyers body CIPS registered the fastest monthly fall in construction activity since it began surveying the industry in 1997. The figure for activity in the housing market was pitifully low.

The survey of purchasers sets "no change" at 50, below that is decline, above increase. Well at 43.9 in May compared with 46.1 in April and 47.2 in March, the clear message from this survey is that the industry is sinking towards recession at an increasing pace. Housing activity stood at a distressing 32.7.

But despite the growing evidence there remains a positive mood among those within the industry. Although confidence fell in May, CIPS measured it at 58.4, compared with 60.1 in April, construction folk still see good times ahead.

Is it that after so many good years there are few who have experienced or can recall the speed at which sweet can turn to sour? Or am I just getting bitter and cynical.

I have for many years referred to the CIPS survey as "ever positive", as it seemed always to point to growth. So I suggest it is worthwhile heeding the warning sign - especially as it is not the only one. If we skirt recession, good, but if it is heading this way at least be prepared.