WASHINGTON, DC - The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) turned negative in March, reversing what had been a two-month recovery in demand for buidling design services - considered a leading economic indicator of construction activity, and a barometer of propsects for architectural woodworking subcontracts as well.
“This protracted softening in demand for design services is a bit of a surprise given the overall strength of the market the last year and a half,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker. “Hopefully, some of this can be attributed to severe weather conditions over this past winter. We will have a better sense if there is a reason for more serious concern over the next couple of months.”
In his analysis by sector, Baker reports that architecture firms serving residential segments continue to report healthy conditions; commercial/industrial firms have seen more volatility in recent months after a generally positive 2013; and architectural firms serving institutional clients were stabilizing during the first half of last year, but have since reported seven straight monthly declines.
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