Very cautious optimism is the name of the game within the architecture community these days. Despite three months of showing upward movement, however slight, in the American Institute of Architect‘s monthly Architecture Billings Index, it’s only been a handful of months since the last bit of momentum was met with a sudden dip that had even the organization’s usually quite stoic and sober economist, Kermit Baker, feeling a bit glum. The current read is that the business of building industry has ticked up to 48.2 on the Index (anything over 50 means there’s growth), a move from last month’s 47.9. So while in the right direction, we’ve certainly learned from several instances in the path not to count our chickens before they’re hatched (or even before the appearance of an egg at this point). Here’s a bit from Reuters:
Project inquiries typically produce a higher reading than actual billings because multiple architecture firms bid on the same projects. Many inquiries come to naught. Project cancellations continue to be the main roadblock to recovery for the construction sector, the group said. Meanwhile, architects are more likely to win work on small renovations than on larger, new projects.
Of the four geographic regions tracked by the AIA, only the Northeast was above 50, and only the commercial/industrial sector was above that mark in August.