Electrical Marketing’s Key Economic Indicators - January 2013

Jan. 25, 2013

Building permits up 30.3% in 2012. U.S. Department of Census data shows that privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in December were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 903,000, 0.3% above the revised November rate of 900,000 and 28.8% above the Dec. 2011 estimate of 701,000. Single-family authorizations in December were at a rate of 578,000, 1.8% above the revised November figure of 568,000. An estimated 813,400 housing units were authorized by building permits in 2012 — 30.3% above the 2011 figure of 624,100.

Architecture Billings Index rises again in November. The American Institute of Architects (AIA), Washington, D.C., reported that its November Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score was 53.2 points, up from the mark of 52.8 points in October. This score reflects an increase in demand for design services (any score above 50 points indicates an increase in billings). As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) reflects the approximate nine-to-twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending

“These are the strongest business conditions we have seen since the end of 2007 before the construction market collapse,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker. “The real question now is if the federal budget situation gets cleared up, which will likely lead to the green lighting of numerous projects currently on hold.”

December PMI increases 1.2%. Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in December, following one month of contraction, and the overall economy grew for the 43rd consecutive month, according to the most recent Report On Business published by the Institute for Supply Management, Tempe, Ariz. The ISM Purchasing Managers Index registered 50.7%, an increase of 1.2% points from November’s reading of 49.5%, indicating expansion in manufacturing for only the third time in the last seven months. This month’s PMI reading moved manufacturing off its low point for 2012 in November. Any mark over 50% indicates the economy is in growth mode.