Architects’ billings continue upward trajectory

January 20, 2011 09:04AM

The Architecture Billings Index rose by 2.2 points last month, indicating a continued recovery trend in the struggling U.S. construction and design industry, the American Institute of Architects said yesterday. The ABI, which is considered a strong economic indicator of future construction activity, hit its highest level since 2007 last month and has risen in three of the past four months. December’s index reading was up to 54.2 from 52 in November, on a scale in which any score above 50 represents an increase in billings for design work. Multi-family projects had the highest score, at 60.1, followed by commercial and industrial, at 52.7, institutional at 50.6 and mixed-practice, at 47.8. Inquiries for new projects also rose, to 62.6 from 61.4 one month ago. “This is more promising news that the design and construction industry is continuing to move toward a recovery,” said Kermit Baker, chief economist for AIA. “However, historically December is the most unpredictable month from a business standpoint, and therefore the most difficult month from which to interpret a trend. The coming quarter will give us a much better sense of the strength of the apparent upturn in design activity. ” TRD