A further 38,000 construction workers were made redundant in the three months to September according to the latest Government labour market figures.

This raises the total of employees shed over the previous 12 months to 177,000.

Meanwhile the figures also show that the chances of those being made redundant finding a new job within construction have dropped even further. Recorded vacancies fell to an average of just 8,000 over the three months to October.

Also the redundancy figures apply to just a section of those who earn a living from construction, as large numbers are self-employed in what is a highly-casualised industry. This can cloud the true extent of the damage being done to the construction workforce.

But the graphs clearly illustrate the plight of those employed in construction. And next month the statisticians will make their latest estimate of how many jobs there are within the industry.

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To date the official figures suggest a loss of 111,000 jobs within constrution. The figures put the peak of workforce jobs at 2,281,000 in September last year and the number of jobs in June this year at 2,170,000.

Many find these figures rather hard to square with the reality on the ground. But getting accurate construction employment figures is tricky, particularly over recent years when they have been confused further as a result of a large contingent of migrant workers who tend to be harder to track within the employment surveys.

However, the latest release of employment data will provide some relief for house builders, as there appears to be a suggestion that the rate of unemployment is slowing. House builders are highly sensitive to the fear that rising unemployment might drive the housing market into a further sharp decline.

But the figures show that just 30,000 were added to the jobless figure in the third quarter, while the number claiming unemployment benefit rose by 12,900.

This is a sharp decline in the rate of unemployment, which had been rising at about 200,000 a quarter over the previous 12 months.