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Architecture billings strong in February

Midwest firms report strongest business conditions

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Billings at U.S. architecture firms were positive for the 17th consecutive month in February, according to new seasonally adjusted figures from the American Institute of Architects. The Architecture Billings Index, a leading economic indicator of nonresidential construction activity, had a February rating of 55.5 (any score above 50 indicates an increase), unchanged from January. "The fact that we are seeing consistently strong numbers at architecture firms over such a prolonged period without any dips is especially encouraging for the nonresidential construction outlook," said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker. "These figures are following along a similar path as the conditions that led to a very healthy construction sector in the late 1990s." By region, the Midwest led the nation with an ABI rating of 60.3, followed by the South (59), the Northeast (58), and the West (46.2). This positive news for the nonresidential construction industry comes on the heels of the index of U.S. home...