After 14 months of growth, there's bad news for the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). The group's Interior Design Billings Index for the quarter ending Dec. 31, 2012, was its first decline after over a year of growth. The index reported at 47.2, indicating a contraction in sales from November, at which time it was 58.9. 

ASID economist Jack Kleinhenz isn't phased, though. "Looking back over the last three years, the Billings Index has always declined in December relative to November,” he said in a press release. “Based on the historical data and the positive status of the Inquiries Index, it is reasonable to expect a return to moderate growth this year.” An inquiry index of 54.4 for the same time period indicates that ASID members are also upbeat about upcoming growth. Those who weren't so sunny cited cautious clients and uncertainty about the U.S. economy.

The index tracks performance data for billings, inquiries, and product sales, and is based on a monthly survey of 300 firms. Scores above 50 indicate an increase in billings, while scores below 50 indicate a decline.

Only the ASID firms serving the single-family residential sector showed consistent billing growth over the quarter at 50; the commercial sector saw 43 and institutional saw 41. All geographical regions reported a reduction: The Midwest was at 49; Northwest at 40.9; South at 48; West at 49.