Construction has now lost 213,000 jobs since the recession started to kick in the autumn of 2008, according to the latest figures. That is about 10% of the workforce.
That sounds like a lot and it is. But given the severity of the fall in construction workload to date it is less than you might have imagined.
So far we have seen construction output fall by more than 13.4% since the peak at the second quarter of 2008. Meanwhile the proportion of jobs lost is about 9.3% from a peak in the third quarter of 2008.
There is the expected lag of job losses following the drop in output. Although in fairness when construction went into recession in the early 1990s jobs were already being lost.
That in part was down to the timing of which sector went into recession first. In that recession the relatively jobs-light commercial sector held up output for a while as other more heavily jobbed descended sharply. This time around things have plunged much more in unison.
That, technicality aside, we should expect job losses to keep coming thick and fast.
If you don't think so, here is some back data to consider. In the 1990s recession while output fell for about four years, it took about eight years before the level of jobs began to rise.
And over the eight years the industry shed 620,000 jobs, or more than a quarter of its workforce. That was with a fall in output totalling 14%.
Now you can argue with the figures, and I do, and you’d be right to say that past performance is no guarantee of the future performance.
But, if you were at Cheltenham looking at the construction form book, how much would you put on the industry to lose at least 500,000 jobs.
Without something drastic happening, I suggest that bet will come in by a few lengths.
To leave you on a happier note, particularly if you did lose heavily at Cheltenham, there is a hint in the vacancy figures that some firms in construction have upped the level of recruitment.
Is this an upward and sustainable trend? Who knows?