November 16 After several months of marked improvement the Architectural Billings Index (ABI) of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) fell back substantially in November, the AIA reported today.
The November rating was 42.8, down sharply from October's 46.1 rating.
The October score was the index's high point since August 2008, at the start of the recession.
The ABI is generally considered a nine to 12 month leading indicator of construction activity. Any score below 50 indicates a decline in billings.
However, the new project inquiry segment of the index remained at 58.5 for a second month. Scores above 50 indicate an increase in the number of inquiries for new work.
The ABI has see-sawed through much of the second half of the year. It declined through July and August, returned to the June level in September, then climed to its high point in more than a year in October.
"There continues to be a lot of uncertainty in the construction industry that likely will delay new projects in the near future," said Kermit Baker, AIA chief economist. "Perhaps the President's plan calling for loans for small business, funding for infrastructure projects and rebates for homeowners making energy efficient improvements will help speed a recovery in the construction industry."