U.S.: Architecture Billings Index Increases for Second Straight Month

Date: 21 December 2007
Source: American Institute Of Architects
Following a rebound in October, the  Architecture Billings Index (ABI) continued up more than two points in November.

As a  leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI shows an approximate nine  to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. The  American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the November ABI rating was 55.3, up  from 53.2 in October (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings), and inquiries  for new projects was 56.6.

“For the time being, the anxiety in the credit markets that threatened many nonresidential  projects during the fall has abated.” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon.  AIA. “With consecutive months of two-point bumps, all signs point to continued healthy  demand for construction projects well into 2008.”  Key November ABI highlights:  Regional averages: Northeast (59.0), South (56.2), Midwest (54.5), West (46.8)  Sector index breakdown: commercial / industrial (58.7), mixed practice (57.0),  institutional (55.8), multi-family residential (44.2)  Billings inquiries index: 56.6  Baker added, “Heading into 2008, architecture firms are concerned about the possibility  of a weakening economy, as well as attracting new staff and managing current heavy  workloads. Additionally, some architects report that contractors are having difficulty  finding experienced labor which can lead to a decline in workmanship.”

About the AIA Architecture Billings Index  The Architecture Billings Index is derived from a monthly “Work-on-the-Boards” survey  and produced by the AIA Economics & Market Research Group. Based on a comparison  of data compiled since the survey’s inception in 1995 with figures from the Department  of Commerce on Construction Put in Place, the findings amount to a leading economic  indicator that provides an approximately nine to twelve month glimpse into the future of  nonresidential construction activity. The diffusion indexes contained in the full report are  derived from a monthly survey sent to a panel of AIA member-owned firms. Participants  are asked whether their billings increased, decreased, or stayed the same in the month that  just ended. According to the proportion of respondents choosing each option, a score is  generated, which represents an index value for each month.

About The American Institute of Architects  For 150 years, members of The American Institute of Architects have worked with each  other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable  buildings and cityscapes. AIA members have access to the right people, knowledge, and  tools to create better design, and through such resources and access, they help clients and  communities make their visions real.

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