Just a couple of weeks ago, we were getting a general consensus of “meh” when the AIA‘s most recent Architecture Billings Index was released. Those were February’s numbers and they indicated a very, very slight uptick. But now with this week’s release of March’s indicator, despite a similar very small climb, there seems to be much more optimism. Although still 3.9 points below where there’s an expansion in jobs (the Index is currently at 46.1), the more positive number was in inquiries about potential work, which “jumped more than 6 points to 58.5 after dropping in the two months prior.” Even the usually ultra-realist Kermit Baker was feeling a bit peppy about the new numbers:
“We could be moving closer to a recovery phase,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker.
“Firms are still reporting an unusual amount of variation in the level of demand for design services, from improving to poor to virtually nonexistent,” he said. “Overall business conditions may begin to change.”