More Positive Momentum for Architectural Billings
The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) continues to show an upturn in design activity. The ABI reflects the approximate nine to 12 month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects reported the March ABI score was 51.9. Though down from the February score of 54.9, it still represents an increase in demand (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 60.1, down from the reading of 64.8 the previous month.
Dodge Momentum Shows Further Growth in April
The Dodge Momentum Index rose 5.2 percent in April from the previous month, according to McGraw Hill Construction.
Gains have been reported for the Momentum Index in each of this year’s first four months, and since December 2012 the Momentum Index is up 23 percent. The April increase brings the Momentum Index to 114.4, the highest level since mid-2009, according to the report.
Experts Predict Increases in Nonresidential Construction Spending for 2013
The nonresidential construction industry is expected to see a 5-percent rise in spending this year, according to the American Institute of Architects (AIA) semi-annual Consensus Construction Forecast, and is expected to grow at a faster rate than the overall U.S. economy. AIA officials expect a high demand for hotels and retail projects to lead the commercial sector. Overall, a 7.2 percent increase in spending is predicted for the overall construction market for the year.
Building Construction Employment Stable from March to April
The number of building construction employees remained stable from March to April 2013 with a slight 0.1 percent increase, according to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS estimates that approximately 1.262 million (seasonally adjusted) were employed in building construction-related jobs in March 2013, compared with 1.263 million in March 2013.
This represents a 2.6-percent increase over last April, at which time approximately 1.231 million were employed in building construction-related jobs.
On the nonresidential side, construction-related employment was down 0.7 percent from March to April—from 682,200 to 677,400. Year-to-year numbers also were up on the nonresidential side, with a 2.7-percent increase from 659,700 in April 2012 to 677,400 in April 2013.
In residential construction, employment increased 1.1 percent from March to April—from 580,200 to 586,400. Year-to-year, residential construction-related employment was up 2.5 percent from 572,000. n
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