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Huge Drop in Billings Means Architecture Continues to Struggle in ’08

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Well, we never make promises around here for always keeping things sunshine and rainbows, so here’s another downer of a post. Architectural Record has just put up information on a just released AIA report saying that, along with the art market, the architecture world is also getting hit really hard; some are saying the billings are down to a low point at the same extent as financial crises from previous decades, if not well beyond. Here’s a bit:

The Architectural Billings Index (ABI), a key measure of the market for architectural services compiled by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), opened the year with a three-month skid, ending the first quarter at the lowest point in its 13-year history. March’s anemic ABI score of 39.7 — a number over 50 indicates an increase in billing activity and below 50, a decrease — marks a 15-point drop from December’s 55.

While some firms are still reporting high volumes of work, even the most optimistic are girding for hard times. The ABI is a reliable predictor of construction activity nine months to one year out, suggesting that the remainder of 2008 and early 2009 will see comparatively little building, according to AIA analysts.

So we’re guessing all of this means that you should enjoy your new building openings now, while you still have the time, because you might be in for a very long dry spell.

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