April 7, 2010
U.S. Architecture Billings Index Up In Feb - AIA

NEW YORK- A leading indicator of U.S. nonresidential construction spending recovered slightly but a measure of future projects dipped in February, partly because a ,lot of stimulus financing for building projects has yet to be awarded.

The Architecture Billings Index was up 2.3 points to 44.8 last month, according to the American Institute of Architects (AIA). A measure of inquiries for new projects fell 0.5 points to 52.0, after a 7-point drop in January.

"Funding dedicated for construction projects in the stimulus package has not yet been awarded, resulting in a bottleneck of potential projects that could help jumpstart the economy," said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker.

Private sector projects continue to face "a persistently rigid credit market," Baker added.

All four U.S. geographic regions were below 50 in billings in January, with the Midwest highest at 49.4, as were all of the four construction sectors. Billings for apartment buildings dipped back below 50 after an uptick the prior month.

AIA's other categories include institutional architecture, commercial and industrial space, and the mixed-practice category, which often combines retail with other uses.

The AIA's billings index, begun in 1995, is considered a measure of construction spending nine to 12 months in the future.

Companies that sell to construction markets include diversified manufacturer Honeywell International Inc, lighting maker Acuity Brands Inc, electrical components maker Thomas & Betts Corp and heating and cooling systems makers Ingersoll-Rand Plc and Johnson Controls Inc.

Caterpillar Inc, Deere & Co, Terex Corp, Illinois Tool Works Inc, Parker-Hannifin Corp, Manitowoc Co, Oshkosh Corp and Eaton Corp also derive revenues from this sector.

Source: Reuters, March 24, 2010

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Brought to you by the Steel Framing Alliance (SFA) on the first Wednesday of each month, February through December. Framework Online arms you with important news and commentary on the cold-formed steel (CFS) framing and construction industries.