ABI Sees Consecutive Drop
Following consistently increasing
demand for design services throughout most of 2013, the Architecture Billings
Index (ABI) saw its first consecutive months of contraction since May
and June of 2012. The ABI reflects the approximate nine to 12 month lead
time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American
Institute of Architects reported the December ABI score was 48.5, down
from a mark of 49.8 in November. This score reflects a decrease in design
services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new
projects inquiry index was 59.2, up from the reading of 57.8 the previous
The ABI sector index breakdown scores were: multi-family residential,
53.8; mixed practice 51.0; commercial/industrial 47.1; and institutional
Nonresidential Construction Spending Returns to Normal
Nonresidential construction spending grew 0.6 percent on a monthly and
yearly basis in November 2013, according to the January 2 release by the
U.S. Census Bureau. In November, spending totaled $583.436 billion on
a seasonally adjusted, annualized basis, according to information from
the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). Commercial construction
spending grew 4.5 percent in November and is up 17.4 percent on a yearly
basis. Spending declined in nine nonresidential construction subsectors
in November, including public safety-related construction spending, which
fell 0.3 percent; amusement and recreation-related spending, which was
down 0.6 percent on a monthly basis; conservation and development spending,
which was down 4.7 percent for the month; lodging spending, which fell
0.2 percent; and health care-related construction spending, which was
down 2.8 percent.
Dodge Momentum Index Increases in December
The Dodge Momentum Index rose 1.2 percent in December compared to the
previous month, according to McGraw Hill Construction. 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.
Decemberís increase brought the index to 118.3 (2000=100), the highest
reading since February 2009. Over the course of 2013, the Momentum Index
showed steady improvement, with December up 32 percent compared to the
same month a year ago. Despite the strong percentage growth during 2013,
the index remains significantly below its December 2007 pre-recession
peak of 191.3, according to the report.
Flat Glass Prices Fall
Flat glass prices fell .4 percent from November to December, according
to the latest Producer Price Index report issued by the U.S. Labor Department.
The decrease in prices marked the third time in four months that prices
for flat glass dipped, the only exception being the 1.3 percent increase
from October to November.
In other news, U.S. import prices for glass recorded no change in December,
according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, following declines of
0.9 percent in November and 0.6 percent in October.
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