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AIA Billings Index Falls to New Low

After edging up slightly in December, the AIA Billings Index fell in January, hitting a new low.

On the heels of a modest uptick in December, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) dropped to a historic low level in January. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the January ABI rating was 33.3, down from the 34.1 mark in December (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The inquiries for new projects score was 43.5.

* Every January the AIA research department uses a formula from the Department of Commerce that re-estimates ABI data based on seasonal factors resulting in a recalibration of recent figures.

“Now that the stimulus bill has passed and includes funding for construction projects, as well as for municipalities to raise bonds, business conditions could improve,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “That said, until we can get a clearer sense of credit lines being made available by banks, it will be hard to gauge when a lot of projects that have been put on hold can get back online.”

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