Billings Index Improves while Inquiries and Outlook Decelerate, but Still Positive
- June business performance continues to add top numbers to the survey’s 10-year history, showcasing strong, current optimism for the industry.
- Overall business performance climbs up and records its 12th consecutive month in expansion territory (i.e., above 50).
- Billings index* increased by 3.4 points to 62.4 for June, rebounding from a slight dip in May (59.0) after a record-setting month in April (68.3).
- The three-month moving average for the billings index increased one point to 63.2, the highest reading in the survey’s history.
- The South remains the strongest region with a three-month moving average of 69.3 (Midwest: 60.2, Northeast: 63.1, West: 61.6).
- Inquiries index* moved down 2.4 points to 64.3 but continues to show strong growth.
- Inquiries for the past three months rank among the top five historically for the survey (April: 5th, May: 2nd, June: 4th)
- Sentiment for the future continues to remain robust for the second half of 2021, despite the six-month outlook decreasing 2.5 points to 65.5.
- Some panelists have indicated that a slowdown might be emerging due to the summer months (i.e., vacation).
- 43% of panelists indicated that business performance was better than expected over the first six months of 2021 compared to only 4% stating that it was worse than expected.
- When asked about price changes over the last 12 months, panelists noticed these top five items/products: Cabinetry (84%), Lumber (84%), Fabrics & Upholstery (71%), Furniture – residential (69%), Flooring (63%).
*Note: Any score above 50 represents expansion (i.e., growth) and below 50 represents contraction (i.e., decline).
Important Economic Indicators
- Employment Updates:
- As of June 2021, overall employment recovered 15.6M or 75% of the jobs lost from March 2020
- As of May 2021, Interior Design services recovered 3.3K or 65% of the jobs lost from March 2020
- As of May 2021, Architectural services recovered 5.6K or 62% of jobs lost from March 2020
- Producer Price Changes (as of June 2021):
- Lumber (softwood) increased 135.7% over the last 12 months
- Flooring increased 17.1% over the last 12 months
- Textiles & Fabrics increased 16.1% over the last 12 months
- Furniture – residential increased 7.3% over the last 12 months
- Cabinetry increased 2.0% over the last 12 months