Yesterday, the AIA posted this video, which features its chief economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, and ARCHITECT editor-in-chief Ned Cramer, Assoc. AIA, discussing the economic climate of the second quarter of 2015, which runs from April 1 to June 30. Baker begins by noting that 2015's rough start was not a complete outlier—last year's first quarter started in the same manner. He attributed this lag in part to the rough winter weather throughout the United States, which can put a damper on the construction industry. Baker says other "wild card" factors currently affecting the economy include falling energy prices, rising interest rates, and labor shortages.
But economic conditions are appearing hopeful in the second quarter, Baker says; the Architecture Billings Index is trending upwards and the nonresidential building sector is seeing healthy gains. In looking at the big picture from the past decade, architecture firms have gained back more than three-quarters of revenue they lost during the Great Recession, which lasted from December 2007 to June 2009. "Firms are feeling more comfortable and certainly more comfortable with the direction that the billings are going," Baker says. "I think they're moving at a nice pace."