ABI November Upturn Shows Broad Strength

Even with the uncertainty related to recently passed tax reform legislation that likely will have a mixed effect on the construction industry, design services at architecture firms remain in high demand.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the November ABI score was 55, up from a score of 51.7 in the previous month. This score reflects an increase in design services provided by U.S. architecture firms (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was up 61.1, up from a reading of 60.2 the previous month, while the new design contracts index rose slightly from 52.8 to 53.2.

The Dodge Momentum Index grew 3.6 percent in December 2017 to 153.9 (2000=100) from the revised November 2017 reading of 148.6 . The Momentum Index is a monthly measure of the first (or initial) report for nonresidential building projects in planning, which has been shown to lead construction spending for nonresidential buildings by a full year.

For the full year 2017, the Momentum Index averaged 132.3, up 10.7 percent from the full year average for 2016, with similar improvement for the commercial and institutional sectors.

At a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $650.5 billion, new construc-tion starts in November dropped 12 percent from October, according to Dodge Data & Analytics.

Nonresidential building fell 14 percent in November, retreating for the second month in a row after the sharp improvement reported in late summer.

November’s data lowered the Dodge Index to 138 (2000=100), down from 157 for October and the year’s high of 173 for September.

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