If the definition you use is two quarters of negative growth, then on the first count by the national statisticians the construction industry is in a recession.

The latest GDP figures show that growth in the whole economy dipped by 0.5% in the third quarter. This was the first fall for 16 years and has ended the period of uninterrupted growth for the UK economy much repeated by Gordon Brown.

But the estimates made for construction puts output down by 0.8% in the third quarter. This follows a fall of 0.5% and technically puts construction in recession.

It must be added that these are only first estimates for construction. But there is little likelihood that the more detailed figures for the industry output and employment due for release in December will show anything other than a fall.

This leaves two questions to be answered.

The first: How deep this recession in construction will be? That very much depends now on what action the Government takes.

The second: For how long will the recession go on? Sadly we'll not know that answer until we have lived through it.

Whatever the answers to those questions finally turn out to be, the industry needs to ready itself and readjust strategies to deal with what may be a prolonged period of little or negative growth in workloads.