The Architectural Billings Index (ABI), which reflects the approximate nine- to twelve- month lag time between architectural billings and construction spending, was 52.0 for the month of December, down from 53.2 in November. The score reflects an increase in demand for design services, according to the latest report from AIA, as any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings. The new project inquiry index was 59.4 for the month, down slightly from the 59.6 mark in November.

“While it’s not an across the board recovery, we are hearing a much more positive outlook in terms of demand for design services,” says AIA chief economist Kermit Baker. “Moving into 2013 we are expecting this trend to continue and conditions improve at a slow and steady rate.  That said, we remain concerned that continued uncertainty over the outcomes of budget sequestration and the debt ceiling could impact further economic growth.”