Small to medium-sized building companies in the West Midlands are seeing work tailing off - the worst performance in the country.
And jobs are set to go.
Workloads were well below expectations during the last quarter of 2005 - the lowest of all nine Government Office regions in England, according to the latest Federation of Master Builders State of Trade Survey.
More than half the builders in the region (53 per cent) saw a drop during the period, compared with 26 per cent reporting an increase in activity.
This negative balance of 27 per cent comes in stark contrast to hopes expressed in the previous survey, when a positive balance of 13 per cent of firms predicted a boost.
Prospects in the region are not expected to improve soon.
Just under 40 per cent of builders expect a further dip during the current quarter, compared with 25 per cent predicting a higher workload.
And over half the firms received fewer new work enquiries, compared with just 23 per cent receiving more. More are expecting to cut staff.
John Watson, FMB regional director, said: "It is clear that the tough market conditions are keeping a downward pressure on our West Midlands members' performance and expectations into the new year, although the anticipated fall in employment appears much less severe."