San Fran Construction 1025
San Fran Construction 1025
San Fran Construction 1025
San Fran Construction 1025
San Fran Construction 1025

Electrical Marketing's Leading Economic Indicators - April 23, 2021 Update

April 22, 2021
Plenty of indicators in the green this month.

Building permits riding +36% higher year-over-year through March

Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,766,000, +2.7% above the revised February rate of 1,720,000 and a whopping +30.2% above the March 2020 rate of 1,356,000. Single-family authorizations in March were at a rate of 1,199,000, +4.6% above the revised February figure of 1,146,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 508,000 in March.

Architects see better days ahead.

Strengthening to a score not seen since pre-Great Recession, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) logged its second positive mark since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the latest report from the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Washington, DC. AIA’s ABI score for March rose to 55.6 points compared to 53.3 points in February (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings).

Scores for both new project inquiries and new design contracts strengthened to 66.9 points and 55.7 points, respectively. March also marked the first time in three years all building sectors and regions posted positive scores.

“As business activity at architecture firms moves sharply toward recovery, it’s very encouraging to simultaneously see such positive indicators of future project work increasing in the pipeline,” said Kermit Baker, AIA chief economist, in the press release. “The activity architecture firms are seeing is a positive bellwether not only for the construction outlook, but also for the larger economy.”


Surge in imports fuel record container traffic in LA

The Port of Los Angeles processed 957,599 20-ft equivalent units (TEUs) in March, a +113% leap compared to March 2020 when global trade slowed to a crawl at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was the strongest March in the port’s 114-year history; its busiest first quarter; and by far the largest monthly year-over-year increase, according to a press release issued by the Port of Los Angeles. Year-to-date, overall cargo volume at the port has increased 44% compared to 2020. Loaded exports edged up +1.5% to 122,899 TEUs.