108%

Percentage increase in U.S. manufacturing technology orders in 2011 as compared to 2010. This puts the year-to-date total at $1,984.87 million.

Source: Association for Manufacturing Technology

27%

Percentage of people who get a vocational license or certificate after high school — whether at a community college or a profit-making institution — that earn more than the average for those with a bachelor’s degree, according to the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University.

Source: “Tough Budget Calculus as Technical Schools Face Deep Cuts” from the July 10, 2011,
edition of
The New York Times

17GW

Amount of gigawatts (GW) currently in the U.S. non-residential photovoltaic pipeline, according to the July 2011 edition of the United States Deal Tracker database recently released by Solarbuzz. This total comprises 601 projects — ranging from 50kW to 500MW in size — with planned installation dates from now through 2015. California currently accounts for 62% of the total U.S. project pipeline, stimulated by the state’s aggressive 33% Renewable Portfolio Standard target. The top six state pipelines in megawatt terms are California, Arizona, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Texas; however, 40 states contribute to the total.

-0.9

Approximate number of points the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) fell in June. 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. Marking the third consecutive monthly decline, the June ABI score was 46.3 — almost a full point lower than the previous month’s figure of 47.2. This score reflects a continued decrease in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). However, the new projects inquiry index was 58.1, up sharply from a mark of 52.6 in May. “This seems to be a case of not thinking it can get any worse — and then it does,” says AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “While a modest turn around appeared to be on the way earlier in the year, the overall concern about both domestic and global economies is seeping into the design and construction industry and adding yet another element that is preventing recovery. Furthermore, the threat of the federal government failing to resolve the debt ceiling issue is leading to higher borrowing rates for real estate projects and should there actually be a default, we are likely looking at a catastrophic situation for a sector that accounts for more than 10% of overall GDP.”

Source: American Institute of Architects