After struggling for most of 2011, the Architecture Billings Index, a leading economic indicator of future construction activity, has remained on positive footing for the last few months, according to the American Institute of Architects.
AIA reported the December index score as 52, in a report released today, the same score as in November. Any score over 50 reflects an overall demand for design services in the industry. The new projects inquiry index is 64, down just a point from a reading of 65 the previous month.
“We saw nearly identical conditions in November and December of 2010 only to see momentum sputter and billings fall into negative territory as we moved through 2011, so it’s too early to be sure that we are in a full recovery mode,” said Kermit Baker, AIA’s chief economist. “Nevertheless, this is very good news for the design and construction industry and it’s entirely possible conditions will slowly continue to improve as the year progresses.” — Katherine Clarke