Analyze This, September 2011


Approximate number of points the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) fell in July, following a drop of almost a full point in June. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine- to 12-month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. The July ABI score was 45.1 — the steepest decline in billings since February 2010 and more than a point lower than June’s 46.3 level. This score reflects a continued decrease in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). “Business conditions for architecture firms have turned down sharply,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “Late last year and in the first couple of months of this year there was a sense that we were slowly pulling out of the downturn, but now the concern is that we haven’t yet reached the bottom of the cycle. Current high levels of uncertainty in the economy don’t point to an immediate turnaround.”

Source: American Institute of Architects

One-Stop Placement: Market Trends, Construction


Number of states that showed an increase in construction employment between July 2010 and July 2011, according to analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of state employment data released by the Labor Department. The relatively even split between states adding and losing construction jobs was to be expected, given the fact that overall employment in construction was relatively stagnant in July, association officials noted. The largest percentage increase in construction employment during the past year took place in North Dakota (19%, 4,000 jobs). Other states experiencing large percentage increases included Illinois (8.2%, 15,400 jobs), Michigan (8%, 9,600 jobs), and Oklahoma (6%, 4,000 jobs).

Source: Associated General Contractors of America

One-Stop Placement: Market Trends, Construction


Percentage increase in NEMA’s Motors Shipments Index from April 2011 through June 2011, marking the fourth straight quarter in which demand for motors grew. This sizable gain followed on the heels of a 13.1% gain posted in the first quarter of the year. Since bottoming out in the second quarter of 2009, the index has climbed a cumulative 55% — and now exceeds its pre-recession high.

Source: NEMA

One-Stop Placement: Market Trends, Construction


Level of the Non-Residential Construction Index (NRCI) for the third quarter of 2011, which is down from 58.6 in Q2. According to FMI, the survey for the third quarter NRCI closed the week before the latest stock market slide; however, the uncertainty in the markets is reflected in the panelists’ responses.

Source: FMI

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