0.2%

Percentage jump in average office rents during the fourth quarter of 2010, marking the first increase since the second quarter of 2008, according to a study of 79 metro areas by property-research firm Reis, Inc. as reported in The Wall Street Journal. The amount of occupied U.S. office space increased for the first time in nearly three years during this quarter, as more companies that had been postponing real-estate decisions got back into the leasing market. The national vacancy rate of 17.6%, which remained unchanged from the third quarter of 2010, is the highest since 1993.

Source: Reis, Inc. and The Wall Street Journal

0.4%

Percentage increase in construction spending in November, marking the third straight rise in the total. Private residential and public construction each gained 0.7% compared to October’s totals, while private non-residential construction edged down 0%.

Source: Associated General Contractors of America

5.5

Number of points NEMA’s Electroindustry Business Confidence Index (EBCI) for current North American business conditions climbed in December, putting the total at 68 — its highest level since June. A reading above 50 indicates more panelists than not reported conditions improved during the month. Of those surveyed, 40% reported improved conditions in December, while only 4% reported deteriorating conditions.

Source: NEMA

+3

Number of points the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) rose in November, reaching its highest mark since December 2007. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine- to 12-month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the November ABI score was 52.0, up from a reading of 48.7 the previous month. This score reflects an increase in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 61.4, down slightly from a mark of 61.7 in October.

Source: American Institute of Architects

1.7%

Percentage increase of settlements in newly negotiated labor agreements reported to the Construction Labor Research Council, averaging $0.80 or 1.7% for their first year, the smallest percentage rise since 1985. The average second-year increase for multi-year agreements was $1.16 or 2.1%.

Source: Construction Labor Research Council