Architecture Billings Index reports growth for every month of 2005. The American Institute of Architects reported that billings at U.S. firms were positive every month in 2005, the first time positive growth was reported for each month of a calendar year since 2000. The Architecture Billings Index, an economic indicator of nonresidential construction activity, had a rating of 50.4 in December 2005 (any score above 50 indicates a positive score), compared to 58.4 for November 2005 and 47.8 for December 2004.
Unforeseen increases are driving construction project prices up. Materials costs over the past year have risen as much as 18% due to demands created by Hurricane Katrina and the growth of the building industry in China, says Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America. Shortages of steel, cement, lumber, and oil-related products such as PVC pipe, as well as rising diesel fuel costs, have all contributed to the increased construction costs.
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