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AIA's Architecture Billings Index Shows Modest Decline



After an eight-point jump in March, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) fell less than a full point in April, according to the American Institute of Architects (AIA).


After an eight-point jump in March, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) fell less than a full point in April, according to the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

As an economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the April ABI rating was 42.8, down from the 43.7 mark in March.

Though this marks the first time since August and September 2008 that the index was above 40 for consecutive months, but the score still indicates an overall decline in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry score was 56.8.
 
“The most encouraging part of this news is that this is the second month with very strong inquiries for new projects. A growing number of architecture firms report potential projects arising from federal stimulus funds,” says AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “Still, too many architects are continuing to report difficult conditions to feel confident that the economic landscape for the construction industry will improve very quickly. What these figures mean is that we could be seeing things turn around over a period of several months.”
 
Key April ABI highlights:
 
Regional Averages:
Northeast (47.1),
South (45.0),
Midwest (40.1),
West (39.2)

Sector Index Breakdown:
mixed practice (44.2)
institutional (43.2)
multi-family residential (43.2)
commercial / industrial (41.7)
Project inquiries index: 56.8
 
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 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.




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  posted on 5/20/2009   Article Use Policy




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