A leading indicator of U.S. nonresidential construction activity jumped in March to its best level since August 2008, an architects’ trade group said on Wednesday.
The Architecture Billings Index rose more than 8 points to 43.7 last month, marking the second consecutive monthly improvement, according to the American Institute of Architects. The index has not crossed above 50, a level that indicates improving demand, since January 2008.
“The fact that inquiries for new projects increased is encouraging, but it will likely be a few months before we see an improvement in overall billings,” AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker said. “This news should be viewed with cautious optimism.”
The AIA’s Billings Index, which began in 1995, is considered a measure of construction activity nine to 12 months in the future.
Nonresidential construction includes commercial and industrial facilities like hotels and office buildings, as well as institutions like schools and hospitals.
Read Nick Zieminski and Matthew Lewis’ full article “Architecture billings index jumps in March” in Reuters (April 22, 2009).