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Construction index increases slightly

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Architecture Billings Index increased slightly in December, which many in the industry hope is an upward trend
The Architecture Billings Index increased slightly in December, which many in the industry hope is an upward trend

In an industry reeling from bad news and negative forecasts, the announcement this week that the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) saw a moderate increase of 1.7 points in December has to be good news.

Earlier this month the American Institute of Architects (AIA) announced that its index had fallen to 34.7 in November - its lowest point ever. However, the December rating improved to 36.4, a 1.7 point increase over November and a 0.2 point increase over October.

Although the hope is that this is the start of an upward trend in the industry, a number below 50 indicates decreases in billing and there is typically a nine- to 12-month period between billing and construction spending.

Some believe the end of the election cycle and start of a new administration will begin an uptick in construction spending.

"All of the money-holders wanted to know who the decision-makers would be so they could get the new rules of the old game," Bill Ferguson of Askew Nixon Ferguson Architects told the Memphis Business Journal.

The AIA is also asking Congress to consider a $100 billion stimulus package that would help the architectural and construction industry.
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