Despite the very slight uptick in the American Institute of Architects‘ Architectural Billings Index for December, following a very quickly downward sloping trend, it appears that that might have simply been a brief hiccup, as the AIA is now reporting that the numbers have once again plummeted, down to another historic low of 33.3%. Hopefully the groups’ lobbying efforts might pour some money back into the pockets of architects and construction firms, allowing Marvin Malecha to see his (possibly now regretted) predictions of a quick industry turnaround come true, but as of now, things look pretty gloomy. Here’s a bit:
Because there is typically a nine- to 12-month lag between an architect billing a developer and that developer spending money on construction, the billings index is considered a leading economic indicator of nonresidential construction activity.
And what the index is showing is not good right now for the nonresidential building industry. The ABI numbers show a rapidly deteriorating situation.
To wit, when the economic crisis first hit its full stride in September, the national ABI rating stood at 41.4 — which itself was down sharply from 47.6 in August.
If it’s any consolation, at least things aren’t as bad here as they seemingly are in Scotland at the moment, where it’s being reported that half the architects in that country have lost their jobs or will be laid off very soon.