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Flaccid Construction Future Projected by Architectural Group

The Architecture Billings Index from American Institute of Architects is trending slowly up (red and dotted trend line), but the long term picture is slumping (blue and green) based on declining inquiries and lack of new work starting. Graph credit: Eric Jay Toll from AIA data

By Eric Jay Toll for Phoenix Business Journal

The forecast for construction work in the western U.S. was up just a hair, according to the latest data from the American Institute of Architects.

The group of professional designers uses its month Architecture Billings Index as a leading indicator for construction activity nine to 12 months down the road.

The West states’ ABI for December, 52.9, was a slight increase from November’s 52.7 reading. Any number over 50 indicates an increase in activity. Nationally, the December index rose to 52.2 from 50.9 the month before.

The ABI also tracks design activity with an index of project inquiries, which fell to 58.2 from 58.8 in November, and new design work on the boards, declining to 49.9 from November’s 54.9. These two numbers indicate declining interest in architectural services and a slowdown in current work slated to start during December.

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