Electrical Marketing's Leading Indicators

Nov. 16, 2012
Architecture billings jump, PMI flat, Conference Board indicators edge up

Purchasing Managers Index improves 0.2% in October. The Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) hit 51.7%, an increase of 0.2 percentage point from September’s reading of 51.5%, indicating growth in manufacturing at a slightly faster rate. The New Orders Index registered 54.2%, an increase of 1.9% points from September, indicating growth in new orders for the second consecutive month. A reading above 50 percent indicates that the manufacturing economy is generally expanding; below 50 percent indicates that it is generally contracting.

Leading Indicators rebound in September. The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the U.S. increased 0.6 percent in September to 95.9 (2004 = 100), following a 0.4 percent decline in August, and a 0.4 percent increase in July. Ataman Ozyildirim, an economist at The Conference Board, said, “The U.S. LEI increased in September, more than offsetting the decline in August. The LEI has been signaling an economy fluctuating around a slow-growth trend. The six-month growth rate has slowed substantially but still remains in growth territory due to positive contributions from the housing and financial components.

Said Ken Goldstein, another economist at The Conference Board, “The single biggest challenge remains weak demand, domestically and globally. The struggle to regain firmer ground — in financial markets, international trade and global industrial output — continues because of weak consumer demand and a lack of more robust business investment.”

AIA’s Architectural Billings Index enjoys big increase in September. Billings at architecture firms in September increased at their fastest pace since late 2010. 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. The AIA reported the September ABI score was 51.6, up from the mark of 50.2 in August. This score reflects an increase in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 57.3, compared to a mark of 57.2 the previous month.