Architecture Billings Index continues positive momentum
Three out of past four months have seen positive business conditions, highest marks since 2007
On the heels of its highest mark since 2007, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) jumped more than two points in December. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the December ABI score was 54.2, up from a reading of 52.0 the previous month. This score reflects an increase in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 62.6, up slightly from a mark of 61.4 in November. [You can see this press release online.]
“This is more promising news that the design and construction industry is continuing to move toward a recovery,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. However, historically December is the most unpredictable month from a business standpoint, and therefore the most difficult month from which to interpret a trend. The coming quarter will give us a much better sense of the strength of the apparent upturn in design activity. ”
Key December ABI highlights:
- Regional averages: Northeast (55.3), South (54.8), Midwest (52.9), West (48.4)
- Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (60.1), commercial / industrial (52.7), institutional (50.6), mixed practice (47.8)
- Project inquiries index: 62.6
More information on the ABI and the analysis of its relationship to construction activity can be found in the White Paper: Architecture Billings as a Leading Indicator of Construction: Analysis of the Relationship Between a Billings Index and Construction Spending.
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Annual Salary Survey
In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.
Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.