I am becoming a bit discomforted by persistent misplaced chirpiness. I keep reading and hearing things that tell me "it's not all bad in the construction sector".

Fair enough, the construction sector is never "all bad". Come hell or high water I can find plenty of good things even in its darkest hour. That is what has kept me engaged with it for so long.

What is distressing me is that words keep dripping off the lips and nibs of people who should know better to encourage us to look at the profits of Abc or Xyz Contractor.

"Oh aren't they doing well?"

Well I should damn well think so. The profits won in 2008 were based on deals done many months if not years earlier when the sky was the limit for aspirations in construction.

If mainstream main contractors are putting in poor results now, well it would take more than heaven to help us.

Profits paint a picture of past success not the future prospects. And in construction the seeds of that success may have been sown a long way in the past.

Looking forward however, if my sources are as reliable as they have been in the past, there is plenty of work being won now at nastily low margins by contractors who are feeling the warm glow of healthy profit margins.

Admittedly the bosses of these businesses will all say: "These are challenging times." But you sense they are saying it to leave the impression that they, they among few, have the secret formula to survive.

They may, they may not.

But here is a headline and a story worth chewing on. It comes (for no other reason than it topped my google search) from The Guardian, Friday 7 December 2007.

"RBS predicts record £10bn profit" It shouts.

Apparently one Sir Fred Goodwin was rather upbeat about prospects in 2008.

That was banking. As for construction, it is going to be tough and to keep pretending it will not be, or that there is some special place to hide (Dubai perhaps, the public sector perhaps, PFI perhaps...), is to do a disservice to those who as the construction recession deepens are losing their jobs.

We need as an industry - and I will keep saying this - need to find real solutions to the workload problems that will beset the industry in the years ahead.

But before we can do that we need to openly recognise the problem and that includes a few more words of concern from the major contractors, even if it means upsetting a few tottering apple carts among the City analysts and temporarily seeing a dip in share prices.