Wednesday, July 21, 2010

ABI inches up slightly. When will design activity increase?

The Architecture Billings Index, the monthly gauge of design activity by the American Institute of Architects offered perhaps the only glimmer of hope in a tough month, but even that good news was slight. The ABI stood at June is 46.0, up from 45.8 in May, but still below 50, meaning design activity continued to drop in that period. AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker called June’s results “disheartening.”

“I was hoping it would recover in June, but we now have a two-month soft spot,” he tells The Board Room in an exclusive interview. “We’re halfway through the year without any serious sign the design industry is recovering.”

Baker has been hearing more about the so-called double dip in the economy, meaning a second decline after a brief recovery period.

“There’s some concern the economy is reversing direction, but I’m not reading it that way,” he says. “I see it more as a period of being stalled out as we move toward a recovery. Nothing is coming easily in this recovery.”

Baker has more analysis of the June numbers and what to expect going forward in the Aug. 2 issue of The Zweig Letter.

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