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Billings, Inquiries and Outlook Maintain Positivity, but Experience Declines for October
The interior design industry continues to sustain its recovery by posting another month of positive readings. However, winter business activity has historically experienced a downward shift and the current indices present a similar trend.
Billings index* decreased over two points to 52.7 for October, down more than 16 points from the record-setting month in April (69.2).
Even with this decline, business is still growing as the index records its 16th consecutive month in expansion territory (i.e., above 50).
The three-month moving average fell 1.4 points to 53.2, but highlighted favorable momentum by trending higher than the monthly reading, which is a change from September.
The three-month moving average by region produced mixed results: the South (56.1) and the Midwest (55.0) sustained their positive advances while the West (48.4) and Northeast (47.4) fell into contraction territory.
Inquiries index* declined 2.7 points to 57.2, but continues to grow at a healthy rate and near the historical average for the survey (57.3).
Additionally, the three-month moving average increased 0.4 points to 57.5, indicating a more positive trend for inquiries than billings.
While the six-month outlook for interior design business continues to outpace billings and inquiries figures, the outlook fell 2.9 points in October to 58.6, which is its lowest reading since December 2020.
The majority of panelists (54%) indicated supply chain as the most important interior design-related government and public affairs issue.
Both supply chain and inflation concerns were mentioned heavily when discussing the six-month outlook, contributing to its more cautious view of the future.
*Note: Any score above 50 represents expansion (i.e., growth) and below 50 represents contraction (i.e., decline).