The mini surge in plant hire activity in February and March came to an end with activity dropping by 2.8% in April, according to the latest Index of Services figures.

Okay, there was an extra Bank holiday in April with the Royal Wedding that will have dampened activity. But conversely the weather was rather better than normal and may well have helped support activity in construction.

Too much should not be drawn from one month’s figures, but the dip in activity in April is still troubling, particularly as it followed a dip in plant hire prices.

And the amount of activity among those renting equipment provides a good proxy for actual work being done on the ground in construction.

So this latest set of figures adds to the worrying and growing weight of data that suggests the industry is on the slide.

Certainly this is one indicator worth taking note of next month.