The £461m of orders placed was poor compared with the £806m placed in March last year. In January of this year, £758m of orders were placed, compared with £1.3bn in 1998, and February’s figure of £678m was £359m down on the previous year.
Some executives say the market is still good and blame the pessimistic mood on the media talking it down. The reality, however, is that firms are struggling, with big jobs thin on the ground. Still, all is not lost, and the Glenigan figures suggest that this year might settle down into a pattern more like 1995 or 1996.
It is also possible that the market will pick up as projects delayed last autumn, when recession fears were at their peak, are revived.