Record redundancies may be the headline in today's news bulletins and tomorrow's papers as the ranks of the unemployed creep towards 2 million.

But in the detail of today's labour market figures of more concern to the thousands of redundant construction workers now looking for new jobs is that vacancies are plunging fast.

The latest data don't update us on the state of redundancies beyond what we knew last November when they hit a 10-year high (see blog).

The figures do, however, show that vacancies are plunging fast.

The figures show that the estimated number of vacancies in construction fell sharply again in December to just 13,000 against an average of about 21,700 last year. These figures are based on a rolling three month average, so they tend to flatter the current state of play when the numbers are in decline.

The 13,000 is the lowest in the history of the current series recording vacancies, which goes back to 2001. Until October last year the figure had never dropped below 18,000.

What is so puzzling, as mentioned before, is that the national statisticians appear to have construction employment growing.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that this time around firms, so far at least, are trying harder to hold onto their teams and avoid redundancies. Some are introducing shorter working weeks.

This will mean that the raw figures may suggest a better state of affairs for construction employment than is the case.

But the clear message from today's employment figures is that the construction jobs market is tightening fast.