Perhaps we broke out those T-squares a little prematurely.
The AIA Architecture Billings Index, our favorite lead indictor you’ve never heard of, is down for the third straight month, as of the July numbers released yesterday. The index is a consensus survey of practicing architects across the country, and since designers tend to get work before developers begin building, it gives an idea of where the construction industry is headed about six months ahead work. In that case, by next month, another slowdown may begin to emerge.
There had been hope late last year when the billings index broke into positive territory for the first time in more than three years, and again this spring when there were a few months of sustained improvement, but things are backsliding again. There was some hope for New York, as the Northeast region was still experiencing a rebound as recently as May, but local architects have been in retreat, as well, for the past three months.
This does not bode well for the construction economy, and it could get worse. After all, the index began to slide two months before the riots broke out in Greece in June. With all the bad news that has followed since, it might be awhile before we turn things around for good.