Good news!

The AIA’s Architecture Billings Index, a key economic indicator of construction activity, rose more than three points in November to hit its highest mark since December 2007.

The index rose to 52.0 in November, up from 48.7 in October, reflecting growth in demand for design services. A score above 50 indicates an increase in billings. The new-projects index was 61.4, down slightly from 61.7 in October.

The index reflects the approximate nine- to 12-month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending, the AIA says.

AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker told Durability +Design magazine that while the November gain “is heartening news, it would be premature to say the design and construction industry is out of the woods yet.”

“We continue to hear a wide mix of business conditions, with a good deal of it still indicating flat or no demand for design services,” Baker said. “Once we see several months in a row of increasing demand we can feel safe saying we have entered a recovery phase. Until then, we can expect continued volatility in business conditions.”

The index’s regional averages were 51.1 for the Northeast, 50.9 for the Midwest, 50.5 for the South, and 48.7 for the West.

According to a recent report on regional economic conditions by the Federal Reserve Board, New York, Atlanta, and Kansas City districts noted some weakening in nonresidential activity, while the Boston and Dallas districts indicated some modest improvement. Boston, Richmond, Kansas City, and Dallas expressed optimism about the near-term outlook.

To read the report in full, click here.

Archie Deese