Architecture Billing Index rockets, forecasting rise in construction

The Architecture Billings Index, a leading economic indicator of nationwide construction activity, took an unexpected upturn in August after a period of weakness, the American Institute of Architects announced yesterday. The index reflects the approximate nine- to 12-month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending.

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The August ABI score was 51.4, following a low score of 45.1 in July, AIA said, a sign of an increased demand for design services. The New Projects Inquiry Index was 56.9, up from a reading of 53.7 the previous month.

“Based on the poor economic conditions over the last several months, this turnaround is a surprise,” said Kermit Baker, AIA’s chief economist. “Many firms are still struggling, and continue to report that clients are having difficulty getting financing for viable projects, but it’s possible we’ve reached the bottom of the down cycle.” — Katherine Clarke

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