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Electrical Marketing's Leading Economic Indicators - April 22, 2022 Update

April 20, 2022
All in all, Electrical Marketing's Leading Economic Indicators struck a positive note this issue.

Total building permits enjoy solid YOY boost in March

Privately‐owned housing units authorized by building permits in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,873,000, +0.4% above the revised February rate of 1,865,000 and +6.7% above the March 2021 rate of 1,755,000. According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau, single‐family authorizations in March were at a rate of 1,147,000, -4.8% below the revised February figure of 1,205,000.

Freight rail traffic sees slight decline

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported that for the week ending April 9, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 508,343 carloads and intermodal units, down -1% compared with the same week last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 14 weeks of 2022 was 6,865,381 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of -2.5% compared to last year.

Design demand surges in March according to AIA’s Architecture Billings Index

Demand for design services in March expanded sharply from February, according to the latest AIA’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI) from the American Institute of Architects (AIA). AIA’s ABI score for March was 58 points, up from a score of 51.3 points in February. Any score above 50 points indicates an increase in billings. During March, scoring for both new project inquiries and design contracts expanded, posting scores of 63.9 points and 60.5 points, respectively.

“The spike in firm billings in March may reflect a desire to beat the continued interest rate hikes expected in the coming months,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, in the press release. “However, since project backlogs at architecture firms have reached seven months, a new all-time high, it appears that firms are having a difficult time keeping up with this uptick in demand for design services.”

Texas adds four drilling rigs

Three new rigs operating in the Eagle Ford basin and two new rigs are now operational in the Permian Basin, according to Baker-Hughes data through the week ending April 14. The state currently has 346 rigs operating, an increase of 132 rigs (+62%).