Percentage decline in year-to-date (YTD) construction spending in the first seven months of 2008 compared with the same period last year. Despite weakness in July, every private nonresidential category is up YTD except religious structures, the segment most closely tied to new residential development.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, The Associated General Contractors of America

The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) rating, as measured in August. This figure was up slightly from the 46.8 mark in July (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). Despite downturns in certain sectors, continued demand for projects such as schools, hospitals, and government buildings within the institutional category of ABI remains positive.

Source: The American Institute of Architects

$4.5 billion

The amount the organic light-emitting diode (OLED) lighting market is expected to reach by the year 2013.

Source: NanoMarkets LC

Percentage rise in the NEMA Lighting Systems Index performance from the first to second quarter of 2008. While this is good news, the U.S. lighting market remains depressed, down 3.5% from its year-ago level and down more than 8% from the start of 2006, due to troubles in the residential housing market.

Source: National Lighting Bureau

Percentage decline in housing starts in August, which equals an annual rate of 895,000 (the fewest since January 1991). Building permits, a sign of future construction, dropped 8.9% to an 854,000 pace. Construction of new single-family units fell nearly 2% in August to a 630,000 rate while work on multi-family units contracted by 15% to 265,000.

Source: National Association of Home Builders