US Dec architectural index weakens but remains in growth mode

23 January 2013 21:07  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--A measure of future US construction activity weakened for December but remained in positive territory for the fifth straight month, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) said on Wednesday.

The AIA’s December Architecture Billings Index (ABI) was 52.0, down from 53.2 in November, but any score above 50 indicates an increase in demand for architectural design services.

With a score of 50.2 last August, the ABI shifted toward growth for the first time in five months and has remained there. One year ago, the ABI score was 51.0, which also followed several months of strengthening business conditions.

“While it’s not an across-the-board recovery,” AIA chief economist Kermit Baker said of the December score, “we are hearing a much more positive outlook in terms of demand for design services.”

Although the AIA expects the positive trend to continue slowly and steadily this year, he said the organisation remains concerned that continued uncertainty over the federal budget and debt ceiling could have an impact on further economic growth.

The ABI results reflect a lag of 9-12 months between architecture billings and construction spending, according to the AIA.

The project-inquiries score for December slipped marginally to 59.4 from 59.6 in November.

Regionally, the AIA survey indicated a 5.7% decline in the northeast, a 2.4% gain in the midwest, and little or no change in the south and west.

Every $1,000 spent on non-residential construction generates $160-230 (€120-173) worth of consumable chemicals and derivatives, according to the American Chemistry Council.

($1 = €0.75)

By: Larry Terry
1 713 525 2653

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