The Architecture Billings Index, a monthly market-status indicator produced by the American Institute of Architects, Washington, has now given us consecutive months of positive news. The index increased eight points in March, the first increase since August 2008. The April index fell less than a point and, for the first time since August and September 2008, the index has consecutive months higher than 40. Any score of 50 or more indicates an increase in billings. While this still has the market in a declining state, the good news is that the new projects inquiry score for April was 56.8. “The most encouraging part of this news is that this is the second month with very strong inquiries for new projects. A growing number of architecture firms report potential projects arising from federal stimulus funds,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “Still, too many architects are continuing to report difficult conditions to feel confident that the economic landscape for the construction industry will improve very quickly. What these figures mean is that we could be seeing things turn around over a period of several months.”
While we are all cautious, the construction news these days has a much more positive flavor to it than it did a couple of months ago.—Gary L. Parr
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