Wednesday, January 20, 2010

ABI ends 2009 with small jump

After a roller-coaster year that saw the monthly Architectural Billings Index languish in the 30s and 40s, the indicator of activity from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) inched up about half a point to 43.4 in December, closing 2009 with a glimmer of hope for 2010. Any number above 50.0 shows an increase in billings.

New inquiries fell three points to 55.3 in December, but AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker is happy the figure “remains very much in positive territory,” although the high numbers of the past several months haven’t translated into new work. "It's nice that it didn't fall back even more. It's nice to see things start to recover a little bit, but we're still showing a slow decline," Baker said in an exclusive interview with ZweigWhite.

In AIA’s monthly survey of architects, Baker saw “a little bit of optimism about what the new year will bring,” he says. “It will be useful to watch what happens for the next few months to see if that translates into new work.”

The residential sector finished 2009 at 51.0, a bump Baker calls “encouraging,” while the commercial/industrial sector fell slightly to 42.7 and the institutional sector is down to 44.2.

Regional numbers were mixed, with the Northeast and Midwest each climbing a point to 48.6 and 46.6, respectively, and the South and West dropping to 43.2 and 40.0, respectively.

Baker sees the second quarter as prime time for a billings recovery, saying it should follow the path of the stock market and gross domestic product.

“It looks like we’re in to the economic recovery,” he says. “We need to claw out of the downturn a little bit more to see some construction.”

No comments:

Post a Comment

Tell us what you think...