Construction Activity on Hold Until After the Election

Oct 20, 2016

A key indicator of future construction activity nationwide is down for a second straight month. The situation in Iowa and the Midwest is a bit more stable. Architects and builders say they are delaying plans until after the election.

Architecture billings are down for a second straight month.
Credit American Institute of Architects

It’s the first time since 2012 the Architecture Billings Index prepared by the American Institute of Architects has dropped in consecutive months. It now sits at 48.4 nationwide. A mark below 50 indicates a decrease in design services. The executive director of the Iowa chapter of the A-I-A, Jessica Reinert, says closer to home the scene is a bit steadier.

“Iowa seems pretty constant in its current billings," she says. "We haven’t seen a real high or low fluctuation.”

Reinert says the Midwest as a whole is bucking the national trend.

“The Midwest is generally isolated as compared to the west and east coasts as far as high fluctuation in increase or decrease in billings,” she says.

Reinert says contractors and designers are putting off decisions about future projects until after the presidential election.

The Billings Index offers a glimpse into non-residential construction spending nine-to-12 months in the future.