There is nothing remarkable about the latest CIPS construction survey other than the comments, which are somewhat more guarded than those that accompanied last month's data.

It found workload in the industry still falling on its measure which registered 47.7 in August against a no change mark of 50.0. This compares with 47.0 in July. This was the slowest rate of decline in 18 months.

The encouraging news, such as it is, was that the fall in commercial work was "marginal". But having collapsed so far as it has, a slowdown in the rate of collapse is to be expected.

The civils firms will be a little disturbed by the apparent worsening rate of decline in their sector. And it is a bit unsettling to see the housing sector still falling, albeit at a much slower rate. One might have hoped for more signs that this ravaged sector had fallen pretty much to the floor by now.

But where in July the talk was of optimism returning to the sector, this month we see no excitement in the commentary. Indeed, David Noble, the chief executive officer at CIPS, refers to construction as still being the "sick man of the UK economy".