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ASID 3Q index: Billings, inquiries continue to improve

The American Society of Interior Designers' (ASID) Interior Design Billings Index showed a gradual increase for the ASIDquarter ending Sept. 30, 2012.

ASID firms reported positive growth in billings, posting an Index score of 55.3 for September, compared to 51.4 inJuly and 53.4 in August. The Inquiry Index also rose from 58.8 in August to 59.5 in September.

According to the Index, which tracks performance data for billings, inquiries and product sales specific to the interior design industry, the single-family home market has experienced a steady increase, reporting a score of greater than 50 for each of the last nine months.

Conversely, the office, retail, entertainment, and hospitality sectors have shown declines, reporting scores of less than 50 for the past quarter. Although institutional billings earlier in the year appeared to be healthy across all sectors, recent monthly scores of below 50 indicate that revenues have fallen off.

The pace of strong revenue gains continues for all geographic regions on a year-to-date basis. Since January 2012, the Midwest, South and West regions have reported monthly billing increases. The Northeast has gained points in each of the past two months.

The strongest billing scores are from small firms with nine or fewer employees, with sole practitioners reporting a five-point increase over August. Firms with greater than nine employees are reporting no change in billings.

According to ASID economist Jack Kleinhenz, both the short- and long-term outlook for the next six months appears positive, although growth is expected to be modest. "While it is encouraging that economic growth has picked up in the third quarter, I remain cautious on the U.S. outlook until there is more clarity on outstanding fiscal issues. I expect GDP growth to remain rather modest in the fourth quarter."

Launched in November 2010, The ASID Interior Design Billings Index is based on a monthly survey of 300 firms and provides a tailored perspective on billings, business conditions and economic outlook. The results are compiled into diffusion indexes centered on 50, with scores above 50 indicating an increase in billings, and scores below 50 indicating a decline. More information on the index can be found at

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