Wednesday, June 24, 2009

American Institute of Architects: Recovery has stalled

by Calculated Risk on 6/24/2009 08:38:00 AM

From Reuters: Architecture billings index steady in May - AIA

A leading indicator of U.S. nonresidential construction spending held steady for a second month in May, suggesting an economic recovery has stalled, an architects' trade group said on Wednesday.

The Architecture Billings Index edged up a tenth of a point to 42.9 last month after a slight decline in the prior month, according to the American Institute of Architects.
A measure of inquiries for projects dipped to 55.2, the third straight month that inquiries have held at a similar level but have not led to improved billings. The data indicated recovery has stalled, the AIA said.

"Numerous firms (have) bid for the same project, which is why the high level of inquiries is not necessarily translating into additional billings for project work at many firms," AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker said in a statement.
AIA Architecture Billing Index Click on graph for larger image in new window.

This graph shows the Architecture Billings Index since 1996. The index is still below 50 indicating falling demand.

Historically there is an "approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending" on commercial real estate (CRE). This suggests further dramatic declines in CRE investment later this year.