Up and down

Another touch of bad news: After an eight-point jump in March, the AIA's Architecture Billings Index (ABI)—an indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the 9-12 month lag between architecture billings and construction spending—fell in April. Granted, if fell less than a full point (from 43.7 to 42.8), but still…..

On the upside, it was the first time since August and September '08 that the index was above 40 for consecutive months. On the downside, the score still isn't great as anything under 50 indicates a decline in demand for services.

Says AIA chief economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA: "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. 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."

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