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US workloads continue to fall

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US design workloads have fallen for only the second month since the recovery began in earnest in the summer of 2012

The American Institute of Architects’ closely watched Architecture Billings Index posted a reading of 49.8 for November 2013, where anything below 50 represents a fall from the previous month.

It ended six months of rising workloads for practices across the Atlantic, and a 15-month period where billings levels only failed to rise once.

Significant falls in workload in the important Northeast region were to blame for the dip in national workloads.

The Northeast posted 47.5 on the index, while all other regions of the US saw workloads rise, with the South at 52.0, the Midwest at 51.6 and the West at 50.2.

The picture also varied widely by sector.

Multi-family residential work was the best market to be in, with a reading of 55.2. Mixed practice work was at 53.1, commercial and industrial at 48.6 and institutional at 47.7.

The new projects inquiry index remained healthy at 57.8, but this was down from 61.5 in October, meaning the rate of the growth in inquiries has slowed. 

AIA chief economist Kermit Baker said conditions varied by practice.

‘This slight dip is likely just a minor, and hopefully temporary, lull in the progress of current design projects,’ he added.

‘But there is a continued uneasiness in the marketplace as businesses attempt to determine the future direction of demand for commercial, industrial, and institutional buildings.’

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