After starting out the year on a positive note, there was
another minor increase in the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) in February,
according to the latest report from the American Institute of Architects
(AIA). The ABI reflects the approximate nine- to 12-month lead time between
architecture billings and construction spending.
The AIA reported that the February ABI score was 50.7, up slightly from
a mark of 50.4 in January. This score reflects an increase in design services
(any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects
inquiry index was 56.8, down from the reading of 58.5 the previous month.
New-Projects Inquiry Index
Dodge Momentum Index Slips in February
The Dodge Momentum Index fell 2.6 percent in February compared to the
previous month, according to McGraw Hill Construction, a division of McGraw
Hill Financial. The Momentum Index is a monthly measure of the first (or
initial) report for nonresidential building projects in planning, which
have been shown to lead construction spending for nonresidential buildings
by a full year.
February’s decline brought the Momentum Index to 116.5 (2000=100), down
from January’s revised119.7 but still nearly 20 percent above the year-earlier
(February 2012) reading of 97.4, according to McGraw Hill. The construction
group predicts that the latest month’s retreat is expected to be a brief
pause in a broader upward trend.
The February Momentum Index saw contraction in both its main components.
New plans for commercial buildings, usually the more cyclically sensitive
sector, dropped 1.7 percent while institutional building fell back by
3.7 percent. On the commercial side, declines were reported across all
of the major building types.
Dodge Momentum Index (Year 2000=100)
|Dodge Momentum Index
Source: McGraw Hill Construction Dodge
Construction Backlog Indicator Hits Post-Recession High
The Associated Builders and Contractors’ (ABC) Construction
Backlog Indicator (CBI) hit a post-recession high in the fourth quarter
of 2013, growing from 8.2 months to 8.3 months (1.3 percent). Compared
to a year ago, the CBI is 3.9 percent higher—up from 8 months at the end
Construction Spending Posts Big Increase
Total construction spending in January posted the steepest year-over-year
increase since 2006, with growth in public construction as well as private
residential and nonresidential spending, according to an analysis of new
Census Bureau data by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).
Construction put in place totaled $943 billion in January, 0.1 percent
higher than the December total, which was revised up $12 billion from
the initial estimate. The January mark was 9.3 percent higher than in
Private Residential Construction Spending: Up 11%
for January Up 15% over 12 months
Private Nonresidential Spending: Down 0.2% for January
Up 9.7% over 12 months
Public Construction Spending: Down 0.8% for January
Up 2.5% over 12 months
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