The spring round of forecasting has brought more gloom with the Construction Products Association taking an even dimmer view of industry prospects than in the winter.

On the basis of the current data available the materials producers' body predicts a drop of almost £15 billion in construction work at current prices this year. And it expects a further drop of almost £4 billion in annual output in 2010 before we see an upturn.

If this forecast proves correct and my sums are in any way accurate the construction industry is currently in the throes of the worst peacetime recession in living memory.

But this is not totally surprising given that between the forecasts the official figures showed construction output plunging 7% in the final quarter of 2008.

This forecast from the Construction Products Association is not far short of the expectations presented in the forecast by Hewes & Associates reported here late last week.

While we can expect some less gloomy predictions from the forecasters at Experian this week, my guess is that they too will be marking down the numbers from where they were.

Looking at the more detailed numbers in the Construction Products Association forecast, the sectors that have weakened most in the eyes of the forecasters are public housing, commercial and public non-housing repair and maintenance.

Hopes of growth in the public housing sector have turned to an expectation of sharp decline this year, reflecting the ghastly orders figures of late.

The forecasters have also switched their view on growth in public non-housing rmi to an expectation of shrinkage in workloads.

But much of the swing in the figures to a more negative position is down to the growing concerns in the commercial sector where the forecasters see deepening gloom.

The only sector where there appears to be room for satisfaction is infrastructure, where the forecasters see continued growth for the next five years.

But again, as mentioned in regard to the Hewes forecast, there are huge uncertainties surrounding the construction industry at present with massive potential risks, which are sadly on the downside.

Frankly if I were a construction boss I would be poring over all the forecasts and weighing up and critically appraising very carefully the assumptions made about the risks and opportunities in each sub-sector.

That said there is one thing I wouldn't be eager to do and that is to jump ship and swim for the public sector, as many appear to be doing at present.

My gut instinct tells me that it is a ship that has just bounced off an iceberg. And while the deck chairs look tidy at present...