And, we are back with our monthly updates of the Architecture Billings Index. Last month looked promising as March marked the fifth consecutive positive rating. However, April’s index has been calculated as 48.4 – a drop from March’s 50.4. The index has been a roller coaster ride of slight positive trends followed by negative setbacks, and AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, explains, “Considering the continued volatility in the overall economy, this decline in demand for design services isn’t terribly surprising. Also, favorable conditions during the winter months may have accelerated design billings, producing a pause in projects that have moved ahead faster than expected.” More about April’s index after the break.
After optimistically watching the index slowly climb to positive territory, it is frustrating to see the index drop so far into negative territory in just one month (for instance, in January, the index measured 50.9 and slowly progressed to 51.0 for February and then dipped to 50.4 for March). The new projects inquiry index dropped to 54.4, down from mark of 56.6 the previous month. Regionally, the Northeast leads with 51.0, followed by the Midwest (50.1), South (49.0), and West (48.0). In the sector breakdown, commercial / industrial leads with 53.8, followed by multi-family residential at 50.5, institutional at 46.6, and mixed practice at 45.0.