WASHINGTON - The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported that, for the third straight month, its Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has gone up. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects an approximate nine to 12 month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. The AIA said the April ABI rating was 48.4, up from a reading of 46.1 the previous month. Although this score reflects a continued decline in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings), it is the highest score since January 2008 when revenue at architecture firms headed into recession. The new projects inquiry index was 59.6.
“It appears that the design and construction industry may be nearing an actual recovery phase,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “The economic landscape is improving, although not across the board, but doing so at a gradual pace. It is quite possible that we will finally see positive business conditions in the foreseeable future.”
ABI regional averages for April were: Northeast at 51.0, Midwest at 49.2, South at 46.5, and West at 44.7. The sector index breakdown for April was: commercial/industrial at 48.5, mixed practice at 48.4, institutional at 46.8, and multifamily residential at 45.8.
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May 24, 2010: Construction Activity Index Reaches Highest Mark in Over Two Years
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