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Sept. 26, 2012: Construction Activity Economic Indicator Inches Back into Positive Territory

WASHINGTON — The American Institute of Architects (AIA) announced that, on the heels of a nearly three-point increase, its Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has climbed into positive territory for the first time in five months. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to 12 month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. The August ABI score was 50.2, up from the mark of 48.7 in July. This score reflects an increase in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 57.2, up from mark of 56.3 the previous month.

“Until the economy is on firmer ground, there aren’t likely to be strong increases in demand for design services,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Ph.D., Hon. AIA. “In the meantime, we can expect to see design activity alternate between modest growth and modest decline.”

The South continues to lead the regions in demand for design services. The regional averages are South (52.2), West (51.2), Northeast (45.5), and Midwest (45.3).

The sector index breakdown is multifamily residential (53.0), institutional (50.2) commercial/industrial (47.9), and mixed practice (46.8).

Publication date: 9/24/2012

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