Last month’s news that the American Institute of Architects‘ Architectural Billings Index had finally reached the pre-2008, industry meltdown levels was great news, though approached cautiously after the unpleasant and unexpected dip the month before. That celebratory caution seemed definitely warranted at that time, and will likely continue to be the case in the foreseeable future, even with this month’s news that the Index has continued to rise. Jumping up more than two whole points to 54.2 (anything above 50 indicates an increase in billings and averaged growth within the industry), it shows that perhaps things might be getting better for the business of building. That the increase continued to hold in December makes it an even better sign, explains the AIA’s official decipherer of such things:
“This is more promising news that the design and construction industry is continuing to move toward a recovery,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. However, historically December is the most unpredictable month from a business standpoint, and therefore the most difficult month from which to interpret a trend. The coming quarter will give us a much better sense of the strength of the apparent upturn in design activity. ”
For further reading, we highly recommend checking out Matthew Lynch‘s “Industry Outlook 2011” for Archinect, which gives a great, detailed overview of what the Billings Index will tell you and how this year is likely to pan out for the industry.