Billings by architects set another record low in November for the second consecutive month, extending a string of record lows set this year, according to the Architecture Billings Index of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).
The index is considered a leading indicator of construction activity, with approximately nine to 12 months between billing and construction spending.
The Index stood at 34.7 in November, down from 36.2 in October and its lowest level since the survey began in 1995. A score of 50 or above indicates an increase in billings.
Last November the Index was 55.3. In December 2007, the Index ended a 34-month run of positive readings, the longest in its history.
"With mounting job losses, declines in retail sales, and travel cut-backs the need for new commercial facilities has dropped considerably recently," said Kermit Baker, AIA chief economist. "What’s just as troubling is that the institutional sector --schools, hospitals and public buildings -- is also beginning to react to tighter credit conditions and a weakening economy."