Sunday, April 27, 2014

Architectural Billings Index

The March 2014 Architectural Billings Index results were published last week.  I’ve been regularly tracking this index, which is a leading indicator for construction activity (about 9 – 12 months ahead of related construction activity), for a few years now.  For more background on this index, click here…

On a national basis, the index score was 48.8, a signicant drop from the month before (50.7).  In a nutshell, any number 50.0+ indicates increased architectural billings and foretells increased construction activity.  Many pundits suggest the unusually harsh winter is the reason for the drop in the index.  The regional data suggests this may be true as in the warmer climates of the West (50.7) and South (52.8) the index was above 50.0.  The Northeast (46.8) and the Midwest (46.6) was where the index was weakest.

These regional numbers were all stronger 12 months ago.  The table below shows the March numbers for 2014 and 2013:


The numbers, year over year at March, dropped for all regions but far more sharply in the colder weather climates.  If weather was a factor, we should see these numbers rebound in the Spring/Summer months.  The numbers suggest, in our region here in the West, that things are stable and growth is moderate.  The West region numbers in 2012 and 2011 were 46.6 and 47.7 respectively, so things have certainly improved these last few years.  Given this is a leading indicator, expect more of the same over the next year in terms of construction activity, that is modest growth.

Businesses in the last few years have learned to be more efficient, to do more with less.  That is always a good model, in good times or bad.  Let’s hope that more jobs, with healthier margins, go out to bid and that you can be poised to take advantage of those opportunities when they arise.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

California Employee Training Funding Program

Every year, the state of California approves applications totaling tens of millions of dollars which are awarded to businesses to help offset the cost of training employees.  The areas of training covered are broad, as it says in the YouTube video below basically anything that helps the employees do their jobs better is covered by this program.

Recently one of my clients had their application approved and was awarded $50,000 to help offset the cost of their employee training.  They used a consultant to help them with the application process through approval as well as the administration and record keeping required to be in compliance with the state’s program.

The program is funded by a portion of the payroll taxes everyone pays in to the system.  I don’t believe the program is marketed widely enough and therefore not everyone is aware of it.  If my contractor was able to get their application approved, chances are good for many other contractors to benefit as well from this program.

If you have any questions, as always send me an email and I’ll do my best to help.