AMB Property Corp. has rolled out an index that uses economic information and customers’ input to measure and forecast industrial real estate demand and business activity.

Called the AMB Industrial Business Indicator (AMB IBI) it extends the real estate investment trust’s commitment to collecting data from a geographically diverse set of customers.

The latest diffusion index suggests that economic recovery began in the industrial sector in February and that business activity expanded in September and October. According to the index findings, the volume of container traffic will continue to improve. Positive net industrial absorption is forecast for 2010.

According to AMB, the diffusion index integrates customer insights with macroeconomic data to provide a status report on the strength of customers’ businesses. It also shows trends in the U.S. economy and demand for distribution and industrial space.

Business activity measured 53.9 on the scale, up from 51.3 in September, and is the highest reading of business activity since May 2008, according to AMB. It implies that customers have been expanding for two months.

Index values above 50 represent expansion, and values below 50 represent contraction.

According to AMB, the index has a correlation of 97% with net industrial absorption, and an 85% correlation with seaborne container volumes.

The indices measuring business activity and distribution space use have averaged more than 350 participants per month, according to AMB.