21 November 2012 20:59 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--An index of future US construction activity continued to signal growth in architectural design services, rising again in October after gains in August and September, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) said on Wednesday.
The AIA’s October Architecture Billings Index (ABI) was 52.8, up by 1.2 points from September’s score of 51.6. Any score above 50 indicates an increase in demand for architectural design services.
In August, the ABI was 50.2, shifting into growth mode for the first time in five months.
One year ago, the ABI score was in negative territory at 49.4 amid persistently volatile market conditions.
“With three straight monthly gains … it’s beginning to look like demand for design services has turned the corner,” AIA chief economist Kermit Baker said.
But post-election optimism “is balanced by a tremendous amount of anxiety and uncertainty in the marketplace, which likely means that we’ll have a few more bumps before we enter a full-blown expansion”, he said.
The ABI results reflect a lag of 9-12 months between architecture billings and construction spending, according to the AIA.
The new project inquiry index for October increased to 59.4, up from 57.3 in September and 57.2 in August.
In the construction categories, October brought gains in all sectors except commercial/industrial, which declined marginally to 48.0 from 48.4 in September. The largest gain was in the mixed-practice sector, which grew by nearly 10%.
The AIA survey showed October mostly stronger on a regional basis, with gain percentages outpacing weakness in the western region.
Every $1,000 spent on non-residential construction generates $160-230 (€125-179) worth of consumable chemicals and derivatives, according to the American Chemistry Council.
($1 = €0.78)
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