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Residential Construction Pr
Residential Construction Pr
Residential Construction Pr
Residential Construction Pr
Residential Construction Pr

Electrical Marketing's Leading Indicators - Feb. 2020

Feb. 21, 2020
Building permits and billings at architectural firms looked solid in January.

Building permits start the year off strong. Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in January were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,551,000, +9.2% above the revised December rate of 1,420,000 and +17.9% above the January 2019 rate of 1,316,000. Single-family authorizations in January were at a rate of 987,000, +6.4% above the revised December figure of 928,000.

AIA’s Architecture Billings Index gets off to nice start in January. Starting the year on a positive note, architecture firm billings strengthened slightly in January, according to the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Washington, DC. AIA’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score of 52.2 points for January compared to 52.1 points in December reflects an increase in design services provided by U.S. architecture firms (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). Indicators of work in the pipeline, including new project inquiries and new design contracts remained positive, posting scores of 57.9 and 56.0 respectively.

“Despite the continued presence of volatility in the economy, design activity has begun to accelerate in recent months,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker in the press release. “Even with the ongoing challenges facing the nonresidential construction sector, this upturn points to at least modest growth over the coming year.”

Year-to-date and weekly rail traffic tracking behind 2019. The American Association of Railroads (AAR) Washington, DC, said total U.S. weekly rail traffic for the week ending Feb. 15 was 479,137 carloads and intermodal units, down -8.6% percent compared with the same week last year. Total carloads for the week were 227,447 carloads, down -9.1% compared with the same week in 2019, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 251,690 containers and trailers, down -8%. Freight rail traffic is considered to be a good indicator of industrial activity because of how much base supplies and finished goods are shipped by rail.

For the first seven weeks of 2020, AAR said U.S. railroads had total combined traffic of 3,375,279 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of -6.2% compared to last year.