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Billing Index Positive for October

Courtesy American Institute of Architects

By Roland Murphy for Arizona Builder’s Exchange

Architecture firms in October saw a slight improvement over their September billings, according to the American Institute of Architects’ Architecture Billings Index. October’s number was 50.8 versus 48.4 for September.

Design contracts, however, fell slightly for only the second time in 2016, down to 48.7 from 51.4.

The monthly ABI is a leading economic indicator for nonresidential construction activity. Any score higher than 50 shows an increase in firm billings from the previous month.

Regionally, the South was the only sector showing increases, with an October score of 53.7. The Northeast came in at 47.3. The Midwest was at 46.8, and the West totaled 49.7.

By sector, only Residential was on the positive side, with a score of 51.2. Commercial/Industrial was nearly even at 49.8, and Institutional reported 49.1.

For the year, most firms (52 percent) report an increase in gross revenues over 2015. Revenue is up more than 25 percent at nine percent of those firms showing growth. Twenty-six percent of respondents report lower revenues, with 12 percent of those firms down more than 10 percent.

Despite the growth over the year, 57 percent of firms expect they will keep their staff at current levels. Thirty-seven plan increases, and, only 6 percent are anticipating staff reductions in the new year.

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