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Design workloads in US drop

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US architecture workloads have fallen sharply, according to a report.

The American Institute of Architects’ Architecture Billings Index posted a reading of 45.8 for May, where anything below 50 indicates a fall.

The reading represented an acceleration of the decline in workloads noted in April, and the biggest drop in billings for more than a year.

It seems to quash all hope of a short-term recovery in the US built environment sector. Billings had risen for five months prior to April, while construction spending reached an 18-month high of $807 billion (£512 billion) in November.

In February the AJ reported a surge of work in New York and California.

But Kermit Baker, chief economist at the AIA, said the latest figures rang an ‘alarm bell’ for the design and construction industry.

‘For the second year in a row, we’re seeing declines in springtime design activity after a healthy first quarter,’ he said.

‘Given the ongoing uncertainly in the economic outlook, particularly the weak job growth numbers in recent months, this should be an alarm bell going off for the design and construction industry.’

All regions of the US were hit, with the North-east faring the least worst at 48.6 and the South suffering the most at 46.1.

Only the commercial and industrial sector saw growth in architect workloads, posting a score of 50.7. Mixed practice work was down the most with a reading of 41.5.

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