We continue our coverage of the Architecture Billings Index with a not-so optimistic report for May. The economic indicator showed a substantial drop in the Index (which had previously been inching upward over the past five months). In fact, all regions reported a decline in demand for design services and all regions fell below 50 (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The official report for May was 45.8, with the regional breakdown as follows: Northeast (48.6), West (47.6), Midwest (46.8), South (46.1). “For the second year in a row, we’re seeing declines in springtime design activity after a healthy first quarter. Given the ongoing uncertainly in the economic outlook, particularly the weak job growth numbers in recent months, this should be an alarm bell going off for the design and construction industry,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “The commercial/industrial sector is the only one recording gains in design activity at present, and even this sector has slowed significantly. Construction forecasters will have to reassess what conditions will look like moving forward.”
We will keep you updated and hope for some different news for June.