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Commercial design leads results in the latest ASID Billings Index
Jun 5, 2018
Melissa Studach

The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) has released its Interior Design Billings Index (IDBI), a statement on the latest trends and best practices in design as well as an indicator of the economic health of the industry. Per the first quarter’s monthly reports, which are gathered from ASID panelists, the latest IDBI shows positive projections for 2018.

Regional performance was one of the larger variations reported in the findings. While the Midwest, West and South witnessed a continued increase, the Northeast region suffered a drop in business—a finding that principal and chief economist Jack Kleinhenz of Kleinhenz & Associates attributes to harsh weather conditions in the region this winter.

Commercial design leads results in the latest ASID Billings Index“As we move further in 2018, that’ll help provide some fuel for maybe some spending in the industry.”

Commercial and institutional design firms experienced an increase in work in the first quarter, while single-family and multifamily residential projects continue to endure a steady decline. Yet, Kleinhenz says, the economy is broadly improving, as recent tax cuts are offering Americans an increased take-home pay.

“It’s certainly an incentive for [people] to make more investments in their homes,” says Kleinhenz. “As we move further in 2018, that’ll help provide some fuel for maybe some spending in the industry.”

Following the industry billings report, Susan Chung, director of research for ASID, presented a work assessment of the interior design profession. Members’ responses contributed to the informative results, which revolved around pay, work management and more.

Are you expecting a pay increase this year? The questionnaire asked. More than half of respondents answered positively, with an average increase of 5.2 percent in pay expected in 2018. “Although we do see pay increases happening, we also see that the hours we work are also slightly increasing,” Chung points out.

Nearly half of those surveyed reported working 40 to 50 hours on average per week, and 23 percent claimed to work more than 50 hours. The results showed that those who worked more hours tended to work at larger firms.

The survey also reviewed work-management systems, asking if respondents expected to hire any additional employees this year. Thirty percent of participants claimed to have already made a new hire in the first quarter, while an additional 10 percent of respondents answered affirmatively.

Yet when asked if they’ve made any investments in their firms (i.e., purchasing or billing software, design software, hardware, etc.) during the first quarter, 60 percent of respondents declined.

In the six-month forecast, however, Kleinhenz is hopeful, saying: “It reflects an improving broader economy in general and a positive outlook for the design services industry in the coming months.”

The full report can be found here.

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