After upturn, architecture billings fall again
After an encouraging uptick in August, the AIA's Architecture Billings Index retreated again in September, falling to a score of 46.9. Since any score below 50 indicates a decline in billings at architecture firms, this was the fifth of the past six months in which business conditions have deteriorated, according to Kermit Baker, chief economist, AIA.
Even with the national downturn in billings in September, some regions reported improvement. Regional billings scores are computed as rolling three-month moving averages, and recent numbers showed enough strength to boost scores for firms in the Northeast and Midwest into positive territory. Scores for firms in the South and West continued to show relatively steep declines, according to Baker's AIA report.
Likewise, commercial/industrial firms reported reasonably healthy improvement in September, while residential firms and institutional firms were showing continued weakness. Commercial/industrial firms reported nine straight months of billings gains from mid-2010 through the first quarter of 2011, so there are grounds for optimism for firms in this sector, Baker said.