7.4

Number of points that the Electroindustry Business Confidence Index (EBCI) for current North American conditions advanced in February. At 64.6, the index climbed to its highest level in nearly four years, after posting a sharp increase for the second month in a row (following a nine-point jump in January).

Source: NEMA

42.5

The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) rating, as measured in January, which marks the start of a third year of negative conditions. This figure was down almost three points from the 45.4 mark in December (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings), indicating a continued decline in demand for design services. 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. “Projects are being delayed or canceled because lending institutions are placing unusually stringent equity requirements on new developments,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “This is even happening to financially sound companies with strong credit ratings.”

Source: The American Institute of Architects

-1%

Percentage drop in the value of new construction starts in January, measured at a seasonally adjusted annual rate. This trend is due to a pull back for nonbuilding construction (public works and electric utilities) projects, after this sector’s elevated performance in December.

Source: McGraw-Hill Construction

-13%

Percentage decline in initial claims from mass layoffs in construction (not seasonally adjusted) for the month of January. Despite a reduction of claims in this area, claims by non-residential electrical contractors were the highest January total since the series began.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

2013

The year in which the construction sectors is expected to again be a trillion-dollar industry. However, according to the FMI report, composition of the market by this time will be much different. For instance, lodging, office, and commercial sectors are not expected to regain their 2008 level of activity by 2013. In fact, neither total non-residential nor residential building is forecast to regain their 2008 highs over the next four years.

Source: “Special Report: Contractor Strategy, Emerging from the Perfect Storm,” from FMI Corp.

527

Number of projects in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry scheduled to begin construction this year in North America, which represents a total investment value of $16.3 billion. The forecast for capital expenditures in this sector is estimated at $18.35 billion, which is up from $17.25 billion in 2009.

Source: Industrial Info Resources

$36 billion

Expected value of the building automation systems market by 2015.

Source: ABI Research

717

The number of hotels, representing 82,620 rooms, projected to open this year — a 56% drop from 2009 levels.

Source: Lodging Econometrics

4.28%

Percentage increase expected for North American project spending this year, which is forecast to reach $303 billion. This total includes outlays for capital and maintenance spending activity at more than 41,000 industrial plants. Capital budgets are predicted to reach $222 billion this year (up from $214 billion in 2009), while maintenance is expected to total $81 billion (up from $77 billion last year).

Source: Industrial Info Resources

According to the “Year End 2009 Market Report” from the American Wind Energy Association, the U.S. wind industry broke all previous records by installing close to 10,000 MW of new generating capacity in 2009, thanks in large part to Recovery Act incentives. The total installed capacity in the United States is now more than 35,000 MW. In 2009, 38 manufacturing facilities were brought online, announced, or expanded. For installations by state, see Chart. Texas gained the largest amount of new capacity, bringing it past the 9 GW mark. Iowa now has a total of 3,680 MW installed, putting it into the No. 2 spot. A total of 36 states, including Arizona for the first time, now have utility-scale wind installations, and 14 of them have more than 1,000 MW of wind power capacity.

Source: American Wind Energy Association

$884 billion

Level of construction spending as measured in January (seasonally adjusted annual rate), which was down 0.6% from December, down 9.3% from January 2009, and the lowest rate since June 2003, according to the Census Bureau.

Source: Associated General Contractors of America