Wednesday, August 19, 2009

ABI shows dramatic turnaround in July

The American Institute of Architects' Architecture Billings Index leaped nearly six points in July to 43.1, signaling an improvement in business conditions.

In fact, the increase more than offset the nearly five-point dip in June. The index was 43.1 in July, 37.7 in June, and 42.9 in May, so the numbers are the best they have been in a long time. Any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings.

The new projects score fell from 53.8 in June to 50.3 in July.

AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker cautions against getting overly optimistic about the July numbers. "In addition to a very competitive marketplace, architects continue to report that lenders have still not yet fully opened credit lines and that the stimulus funding has so far provided limited project activity for the design community overall," he said.

Regional averages were as follows: South (43.4, up sharply from 40.5 in June), West (39.7, down slightly from 39.9 in June and remaining remarkably consistent over the past several months with 39.4 in May, 39.2 in April, and 36.1 in March), Northeast (37.8, down again from 42.8 in June, 48.3 in May and 47.1 in April), and Midwest (36.9).

The July ABI breaks down by sector as follows: mixed practice (42.9, down from 43.5 in June, 44.5 in May, 44.2 in April, and 44.0 in March), commercial/industrial (42.9, up from 39.5 in June, but down from 43.1 in May), multi-family residential (40.7, down from 42.7 in June, 45.5 in May and 43.2 in April), and institutional (37.1, up slightly from 37.0 in June, but down from 38.0 in May and 43.2 in April).


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