Many thanks to Jonathan for commenting below on my thoughts on the jobs figures released this morning. He comes from a recruitment background, so sees the situation first hand, and he seems as puzzled as I do over the official data that suggest construction employment is holding firm at a high level.

I have put a call into the statisticians and am awaiting a reply. My basic question is how do they square the figures they produced for construction output - showing a 7% fall in the final quarter - with the figures produced for construction jobs - showing no fall.

If both are accurate then we really do have problems with productivity and presumably rocketing labour costs. Now I haven't heard anyone complaining of that.

I have also asked if there are plans to examine the figures in more detail, as they appear to be seriously at odds with real life experience.

I am waiting for a reply to these questions and will report back.

But in the meantime while we wait if there are any other questions that come to mind that you particularly want me to put if I get the chance do let me know.

Also if you have any light you think you can throw on this matter I'd appreciate it. I am concerned that if the strain on the construction industry and the pain being suffered appears to the politicians less than it really is, the level of political attention the industry will get may be less than it deserves.