Leading indicators precede aggregate economic activity and signal policy makers about the state of the economy. Construction spending is usually considered a reliable leading indicator, and the figure below shows that total construction spending fell considerably before the beginning of the Great Recession (the shaded area).
Further, today the jobs' numbers were released with 163,000 nonfarm payroll jobs created, up from 64,000 last month. It is hard to see this as a prove of strenght in the labor market, as the Conference Board suggests. We needed to be creating something more like 400,000 for a healthy recovery. Unemployment ticked up to 8.3%.