Privately‐owned housing units authorized by building permits in September were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,564,000, +1.4% above the revised August rate of 1,542,000, but -3.2% below the September 2021 rate of 1,615,000. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, single‐family authorizations in September were at a rate of 872,000, -3.1% below the revised August figure of 900,000.
AIA’s Architecture Billings Index slides in September
The AIA Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score for September was 51.7 points, down from a score of 53.3 points in August, indicating essentially stable business conditions for architecture firms (any score above 50 points indicates an increase in billings from the prior month). Also in September, both the new project inquiries and design contracts indexes moderated from August but remained positive with scores of 53.6 points and 50.7 points, respectively.
“While billings in the Northeast region and the institutional sector reached their highest pace of growth in several years, there appears to be emerging weakness in the previously healthy multi-family residential and commercial/industrial sectors, both of which saw a decline in billings for the first time since the post-pandemic recovery began,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker in the press release. “Across the broader architecture sector, backlogs at firms remained at a robust seven months as of the end of September, still near record-high levels since we began collecting this data regularly more than a decade ago.”
Conference Board’s CEO panel bracing for a recession
The Conference Board’s Measure of CEO Confidence stands at 32 points to start Q4 2022, down from 34 points in Q3 2022. It fell deeper into negative territory to lows not seen since the depths of the Great Recession. (A reading below 50 points reflects more negative than positive responses.)
Dana Peterson, chief economist, the Conference Board, said in the press release that only 5% reported business conditions were better today than they were six months ago, and that the same proportion — just 5% — expected conditions to improve over the next six months.