Construction Economic Outlook

Here's a postitive report from the Architecture Billing Index.

ABI Hits Highest Point Since 2007

After a slight regression into negative territory in October, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) gained 3 points in November, crossing back into "growth" territory at 52.0, its highest level since December 2007. Much of the improvement appears to be in the residential sector, which reported an ABI of 54.3 and was the only industry sector showing growth in November. Three of the four geographic regions reported growth in billings, including the southern region, which reported its first positive reading since the onset of the recession. And although the western region continues to show a decline in billings, it continues to inch toward positive territory, with its highest reading in 2 years of 48.7.

Architecture Billings Index

"While this is heartening news, it would be premature to say the design and construction industry is out of the woods yet," said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Ph.D., Hon. AIA. "Once we see several months in a row of increasing demand we can feel safe saying we have entered a recovery phase. Until then, we can expect continued volatility in business conditions."

As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate 9-to-12-month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending.

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