Landscape Architect & Specifier News

DEC 2018

LASN is a photographically oriented, professional journal featuring topics of concern and state-of-the-art projects designed or influenced by registered Landscape Architects.

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2018-19 The Big Picture Kiplinger, the eminent Washington, D.C.-based publisher of business forecasts and personal finance advice, predicts the U.S. GDP will only grow in the mid 2% range in the 4th quarter of this year after two strong gains of 4.2% (Q2) and 3.5% (Q3) - adding up to overall GDP growth of 2.9% for 2018. They are also expecting the mid-2% range to be the norm in the early quarters of 2019 leading to a yearly mark of 2.7%. Citing that there are now 1 million more job openings than there are Americans without work, Kiplinger predicts the unemployment rate will continue to decline next year. Last year, IBISWorld, a supplier of business information and market research, said that their evaluation of the landscaping industry puts its continuing ten-year growth through 2022 at an annualized rate of 3.4%. This year they continue with an optimistic outlook, stating, "steady growth in the housing market will encourage demand for industry services." As for the housing market, the Home Buying Institute, noting the increase in building permits mid-year, predicted a possible "much-needed increase in new-home construction in 2019." And in spite of home prices' continued upward trend - Zillow forecasted a 6.5% rise from July of this year to July 2019 - and modest mortgage rate increases, HBI believes the steady demand for homes will probably not be stifled. In the non-residential category, Dodge Data and Analytics most recent report possibly indicates that the "commercial building sector is approaching a peak and should begin to gradually ease back over the coming year," but that the industrial sector "has been relatively more stable due to the availability of public funds for projects such as schools and airport terminals." 16 Landscape Architect and Specifier News ECONOMIC Real GDP: Percent Change From Preceding Quarter 5 4 3 2 1 0 Q1 Q1 Q1 Q1 Q2 Q2 Q2 Q2 Q3 Q3 Q3 Q3 Q4 Q4* Q1-4* Q4 Q4 Q4 2014 2017 2018 2019 2016 2015 Architecture Billings Index Although dropping a little, the ABI, a leading economic indicator for nonresidential construction activity, continued in positive territory, registering a score of 50.4 in the latest report (any score over 50 indicates billing growth). The design contracts tally continues to be encouraging at 52.8. The AIA states "the outlook still remains positive, as inquiries into new work remain strong, and the value of new signed design contracts remains relatively strong as well." 10/15 10/17 10/16 10/18 53.1 50.8 51.9 50.4 *Kiplinger's forecast By Mike Dahl, LASN

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