The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Third Quarter 2014 Interior Design Billings Index (IDBI) reports inquiries for interior design projects are at their highest in three years. In September, the ASID Interior Design Billings Index (IDBI) registered 60.5, while inquiries rose to 69.5. As a leading economic indicator of residential and nonresidential improvement spending, the IDBI brings additional perspective to the already established construction indices. Three different variables had a strong effect on billings in Q3: firm size, region and market sector.

“The U.S. economy remains on firm footing and economic growth for the balance of 2014 is forecasted to be in the range of 3.0.” said Jack Kleinhenz, Ph.D., economist for ASID Research. “Business conditions for the design industry continue to indicate momentum and usher further improvement in home improvement and construction activity.”

Upswing continues through 21 months
Billings and inquiries reported by industry members have remained on an upswing for the majority of 2014 with scores above 50 (any score over 50 indicates growth), for the past 21 months. For September, close to half of survey participants (49 percent) reported a minimum five-percent increase in new project inquiries; 35 percent reported a similar increase in billings.

Small firms experience largest growth
While the IDBI for firms of all sizes was 50 or above, small firms – those with two to nine employees – achieved an IDBI score of 67 in September, while sole practitioner firms scored 52.3.

West, South lead in regional increases
Although firms in every region notched increased Index scores for September, only firms in the West and the South showed consistent monthly gains over the third quarter. Throughout the year, firms in the Northeast and Midwest experienced volatile fluctuations in their billings, according to data reported to ASID.

Residential segment sees steady growth
Both single- and multi-family residential billings have shown ongoing improvement throughout the past four quarters, with single-family billings illustrating the more steady gains. The commercial segment, however, sustained its downward trend, with only the office segment ending Q3 with an IBDI above 50. Similarly, in the institutional sector, only healthcare ended the quarter above 50, while government and education sectors reported declining billings during the third quarter.

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About the ASID Interior Design Billings Index
The IDBI was produced by ASID Research, under the leadership of Director Andy Whittaker, in partnership with Jack Kleinhenz, Ph.D., and Russ Smith, Ph.D., both of Kleinhenz & Associates. It is a diffusion index compiled from a monthly ASID survey of 300 geographically diverse firms that primarily offer interior design services or offer interior design services as part of architectural, engineering and other related practices. Resulting perspectives on current and future business conditions for the interior design industry are helpful indicators of changes in the direction of economic activity. The ASID indices are centered on 50 percent (above 50 indicates expansion and below 50 contraction).

About ASID Research
ASID Research provides the design industry with regular data, studies and reports offering insight and analysis on the state of the industry and practice. Established to educate the design industry on the status of its health and the impact of design on the way we work, live and play, ASID Research offers quantitative and qualitative knowledge of the industry. Our goal is to provide observations, vision and compilations that inspire and inform. Outcomes include the monthly ASID Interior Design Billings Index (IDBI), ASID Interior Design 2014 Outlook and State of the Industry report, third-party collaborations and educational grants.

About the American Society of Interior Designers
The American Society of Interior Designers believes that design transforms lives. ASID serves the full range of the interior design profession and practice through the Society’s programs, networks and advocacy. We thrive on the strength of cross-functional and interdisciplinary relationships among designers of all specialties, including workplace, healthcare, retail and hospitality, education, institutional and residential. We lead interior designers in shared conversations around topics that matter: from evidenced-based and human-centric design to social responsibility, well-being and sustainability. We showcase the impact of design on the human experience and the value interior designers provide.

ASID was founded nearly 40 years ago when two organizations became one — an anniversary we will recognize in 2015 — but its legacy dates back to the early 1930s. As we celebrate nearly 85 years of industry leadership, we are poised to lead the future of interior design, continuing to integrate the advantages of local connections with national reach, of small firms with big and of the places we live with the places we work, play and heal.