The ASID Interior Design Billings Index rose by nearly three points in May. ASID firms reported positive growth in billings, posting an Index score of 59.8, compared to 57.1 in April. The Index has remained in positive territory now for five consecutive months and for seven of the past eight months (with only a slight dip below positive in December). The Inquiry Index for May also rose, to 63.7, compared to 56.5 in April.
Mid-sized firms reported the reported the strongest gains, perhaps due to the resurgence in some commercial areas. Small firms maintained their good performance, but larger firms continue to struggle.
Unexpectedly, firms in the Midwest and Northeast regions reported the biggest gains after a slump in April. The South reported its first decline of the year, dropping into negative territory. The West held steady in positive territory.
Within sectors, entertainment and retail showed the highest month-over-month gains. Multihousing, which was the surprise performer in April, declined somewhat, and single residential rose slightly. Government improved, but healthcare, hospitality, office and education stayed more or less flat, within a few points.
Economic Uncertainty a Major Concern
Asked what factors were most likely to affect whether clients contacted them concerning new projects, 8 in 10 panelists said concern about the global economy–not surprising, given the focus on the Eurozone in the month of May. Uncertainty about future U.S. tax policy and depressed housing prices also ranked high on panelists list of concerns.