The most recent ABI data just dropped, but first an update on material prices. Materials for non-residential construction are up 4.7% year-over-year. Softwood lumber is up 14.5% which was discussed a couple of weeks ago. Crude oil was the largest gainer at 30.3% y-o-y, meaning the cost of gasoline and diesel is climbing.
OK, let's move on to my favorite leading indication: ABI. Per my usual explanation, the ABI records architectural billings on commercial building projects. Any value greater than 50 means that architecture billings are increasing; conversely, any value less than 50 means billings are decreasing. The ABI is a leading indicator of commercial building construction by approximately nine to 12 months.
For January, the ABI came in at 54.7, a sharp up-tick from the previous month's adjusted 52.8 figure.
The regional breakdown for January 2018 goes like this:
Looking at the ABI figures by building type, we have the following: