My favorite leading indicator of soon-to-be construction activity was just released. The AIA ABI figures for February 2014 were just posted and there was another slight improvement, from 50.4 in January to 50.7 in February, for the aggregate nationwide number, which is great. Any value greater than 50 means that architecture billings are increasing; architecture billings are a nine to 12 month leading indicator for construction activity. But the devil is in the detail, which are shown below:
Regional Averages for February 2014:
That last value is of particular importance to me because most of my students work or will work on the west coast. While certain regions (San Francisco/San Jose Bay Area) are still very strong, the recovery elsewhere has been slow to materialize, if there even is a recovery. Hopefully this turns around soon.
Sector Averages for February 2014:
As has been the case for several months, the multi-family residential market continues to pace commercial construction. In talking to contractors that serve this market, it sounds (anecdotally) that there is still room to grow, with one contractor in particular telling me that they are beginning to turn work away because their backlog is bursting. The increase in commercial/industrial is also promising.
Project inquiries declined to 56.8 from 58.5 in January and from 59.2 in December.
Multi-family continues to drive the construction industry. Based on my previous post, hopefully