Just in the nick of time to save the holiday season, the American Institute of Architects has bestowed a gift upon the industry by releasing their latest Architectural Billings Index figures. After last month’s dive, made all the worse by having been preceded by several months of climbing, the index suddenly rose several points, locking in at 52 and beating the October numbers by two, the first time it had climbed into the positive since 2008 (as a reminder, everything above 50 indicates an increase in construction billings and general growth within the industry). That after last month’s blast of stark reality, the AIA’s top financial expert isn’t quite ready to ring in the new year by saying the worst is now past:

“While this is heartening news, it would be premature to say the design and construction industry is out of the woods yet,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “We continue to hear a wide mix of business conditions, with a good deal of it still indicating flat or no demand for design services. Once we see several months in a row of increasing demand we can feel safe saying we have entered a recovery phase. Until then, we can expect continued volatility in business conditions.”