The September figures for new construction orders are truly shocking and extremely worrying.

In the past I have tended to treat the orders figures with a bit of disrespect because they bounce around to the point where you can't make sense of them.

Not now. Put bluntly from May onward, the industry has witnessed new orders running at 20% less than they were up to April. The have fallen off a cliff.

But, leaving aside the continuing horror show in the housing market, the truly scary figures are in the commercial sector, where orders are more than 30% down.

If this continues unabated it will make the shocking slide in commercial sector work in 1990 look like a nursery slope.