Billings at U.S. architecture firms were positive for the 12th consecutive month in January, indicating positive growth for the construction industry this year, the American Institute of Architects reported. The institute's Architecture Billings Index, a leading economic indicator of nonresidential construction activity, had a January rating of 55.5 (any score above 50 indicates an increase), up from the seasonally adjusted score of 53.7 in December 2005. By region, the South led the nation with an ABI rating of 58.7, followed by the Northeast (53.8), the Midwest (53.5), and the West (50.1). Based on the approximately six- to nine-month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending, business conditions appear favorable for the nonresidential construction market in 2006 and possibly into 2007. "As the residential market shows signs of softening, the nonresidential market is in excellent position to pick up the slack in construction activity," said AIA Chief Economi...
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