January 3 Architectural billings, considered a leading indicator of construction activity, rose more than three points in November to reach its highest level since December 2007.
The Architectural Billings Index (ABI) of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) was 52.0 in November, up from 48.7 in October. The Index rose for three months before slipping back into negative territory in October. Any score under 50 indicates a decline in billings. Scores above 50 indicate increasing billings.
"While this is heartening news, it would be premature to say the design and construction industry is out of the woods yet," said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker. Business conditions continue to be "mixed," he added.
Regionally the Northeast (51.1), Midwest (50.9), South (50.5), were all in positive territory. Improvement in the West (48.7) continued to lag.
Inquiries for new projects was solidly in growth territory at 61.4, down slightly from October.