Turkish economy has been hit by various economical crises between the years 1998 and 2001 and the economic stagnation still continues. Past experiences in various countries show that it is vitally important to encourage construction activities in order to get out of stagnation, as construction output directly affects about 200 other sectors and industry financial ratio analysis is a means to provide a basis for the governments to undertake corrective action. However, there are over 50 financial ratios that can be used during analysis and some are more important than the others for different industries. Previous research has shown that there are about 25 factors that are important for the construction companies. This, in turn, requires elimination of unrelated data. Factor analysis is a data reduction and classification technique, which can be applied in financial analysis. Factor analysis was thus applied to the financial data collected from Turkish construction companies for a 5-year period in order to determine the financial indicators that can be used to analyse the financial trend of the industry. Five independent factors, i.e. liquidity, capital structure and profitability, activity efficiency, profit margin and growth, and assets structure were identified to be sensitive to the economical changes in the country. The results of the factor-based analysis can be used both by the government to analyse the changes in the industry with respect to time and by the construction companies to analyse their financial state with respect to their rivals. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.