The graph probably says it all. The construction output figures are looking very disturbing. This will not come as a surprise to many, but the confirmation of fears provides little solace.

Yes we can blame the weather. Yes we can note that the figures bounce about a lot. Yes we can find comfort in the possibility of revisions.

But as they stand and as far as you can make out from the historic data the figures suggest that construction probably has just had its worst three months on a non-seasonally adjusted basis since 1995.

What the data are saying is very concerning. The most distressing aspect is that the largest sector, commercial building, is faltering.

Here the amount of work done over the three months to February is recorded as being 16.4% down on previous three months and 9.8% on the same period a year ago.

Meanwhile, private housing was down 17.1% on the previous three months and 7% on the same period a year ago.

We know the direction of public spending on construction. Down. The work carried out on public non-housing new construction was 23.7% less over the three months to February compared with a year ago. And other elements of the public sector are performing almost as badly.

This means the private sector will have to make up for it if the industry is not to fall sharply.

In terms of scale this means we need the private housing and commercial sectors to shine. They clearly are not, despite the Government lavishing attention and pumping in public cash and providing guarantees to help boost the housing sector.

Those who are looking to the infrastructure sector for salvation will also be distressed to see output down 14.9% in the three months to February compared with the previous three months and 7.6% down on a year ago.

It is hard to know where the recovery will come from. The orders figures have been distessing for some while. Despite this the engine of London has kept much of the industry ticking over, partly with projects coming back on stream having been shelved when the financial crisis hit.

But now the orders figures in the capital are starting to look ever shakier and the backlog of projects on hold that might be reinstated has diminished.

There is always the possibility that the statistics contain a glitch and things are not as bad as the published data suggest. To think that would be to clutch at straws, even if there are errors in the data.

The noise from the industry is increasingly the sound of discomfort. The figures could be wrong. But that does not mean things are not ugly out there in the real world of construction.

I will say it again. This is the time that the Government should be buying construction and it should be buying construction in truck loads.