Architectural Billing Falls Back to Negative
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November 29 The Architectural Billing Index (ABI) of the American Institute of Architects (AIA)
retreated to negative territory last month after turning positive in September for the first time in 20 months.
The AIA reported an October ABI score of 48.7, down from a reading of 50.4 the previous month. This score reflects a decrease in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings).
However, the new projects inquiry index remained positive at 61.7, down slightly from a nearly three-year high mark of 62.3 in September.
"This is disappointing news, but not altogether that surprising," said Kermit Baker, AIA chief economist. "We were anticipating a slow recovery period and it is likely that there will be some fits and starts before conditions show consistent improvement. Right now, reluctance from lending institutions to provide credit for construction projects and a sluggish economy are the main impediments to a revival of the design and construction industry."
Regionally, the Northeast and Midwest were positive at 54.5 and 51.8 respectively. The South (48.6) and West (44.3) remained negative.