If the RICS construction survey is a good indication of what the future may look like, then the monthly Purchasing Managers Index produced by the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) tends to give a fair indication of the mood of the moment.

So when the March results released today showed the index turning sharply negative, it was a clear sign that the shakes felt in the financial markets last Autumn are vibrating in the construction industry right now.

The main Index broadly measures the balance between those purchasing managers who saw activity expand and those who saw it shrink over the previous month and the March figure of 47.2 (against a no change mark of 50) was the worst for almost a decade.

The survey splits down into housing, commercial and civil engineering and it is clear where the problems lie. House building and commercial building work have taken a tumble.

While not as negative, the Construction Products Association Activity Barometer survey results, released on Monday, also suggest that the industry is taking a big knock as a result of the financial turmoil spilling over into the property markets.

But the interesting point to note in both surveys is the continued view that the future remains fairly bright for construction, if not as bright as it may have looked a few months ago.