The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) released the results of its Interior Design Billings Index for the first quarter of 2012. ASID firms reported increased billings for the third consecutive month, ending March with an index score of 62.5, up 13 points from the previous quarter, and nearly 5 points from the prior year.
"This is very positive news for the building industry, and in particular for interior design services," said ASID economic advisor Jack Kleinhenz, Ph.D. "The ASID Billings Index has shown a solid pattern of increased activity over most of the past year, led by continued demand for remodeling projects versus new construction spending."
Improvement in the Interior Design Industry is Broad-based
Firms of all sizes posted a billings index of 50 or above. Firms employing between two and nine people led growth, with their responses yielding a billings index of 64.9.
Conditions Improved Across All Regions
Firms in the Midwest, South and West regions reported gains in March, as did the Northeast, which had reported a decline in February. The West region, in particular, reported increased billings in 13 out of the past 15 months.
Billing Results Varied by Marketing Sector
Single homes, Office, Hospitality, and Government/Institution reported increases in billings for the quarter. Multi-family/senior housing, retail, entertainment, healthcare/medical, and education reported decreases in billings for the quarter.
Three Month Outlook: Rising Non-labor Costs and Limited Employment Growth
Over half of the respondents expect prices to rise, while none of the respondents felt prices would fall. One in ten firms hired at least one new employee in the past three months, and one of every six firms indicated they would hire in the next three months.
Six Month Outlook: Economic Outlook Expected to Improve
Although the ASID Billings Index ended the quarter well above 50, ASID firms expect business conditions to be about the same in the future. In March 2012, the ASID Business Outlook Index was 72.3, down slightly from the prior quarter's index of 74.3. Both the Conference Board's consumer expectations and ASID confidence indicators rebounded in December. The cumulative gain over the past several months has put both indexes at their highest point which is consistent with the tenor of economic data for the first quarter of 2012.