September ABI Indicates Robust Conditions for US

September 2014. Image Courtesy of CalculatedRiskBlog.com

The American Institute of Architecture () has indicated a “heightened level of demand for design services” throughout the US. As the latest Architecture Billings Index () reports, all regions and project sectors have shown positive conditions and the September score was 55.2, up from a mark of 53.0 in August. The new projects inquiry index was 64.8, following a mark of 62.6 the previous month.

“Strong demand for apartment buildings and condominiums has been one of the main drivers in helping to keep the design and construction market afloat in recent years,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “There continues to be a healthy market for those types of design projects, but the recently resurgent Institutional sector is leading to broader growth for the entire construction industry.”

A breakdown of regional highlights, after the break.

August ABI Remains Strong

August 2014. Image Courtesy of CalculatedRiskBlog.com

Demand for design services in the US continue to increase, as momentum from July’s highest recorded strength since 2007 continues. The American Institute of Architects reported the August Architecture Billings Index () at 53.0, down from July’s mark of 55.8, and the new projects inquiry at 62.6.

“One of the key triggers for accelerating growth at architecture firms is that long-stalled construction projects are starting to come back to life in many areas across the country,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “Long awaited access to credit from lending institutions and an increasing comfort level in the overall economy has helped revitalize the commercial real estate sector in recent months. Additionally, though, a crucial component to a broader industry-wide recovery is the emerging demand for new projects such as education facilities, government buildings and, in some cases, hospitals.”

A breakdown of regional highlights, after the break…

US ABI Hits Highest Level Since 2007

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The US (ABI) reached 55.8 in July  – its highest level since 2007. The score reflects what has been a steadily increasing demand for design services over the past three months, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) reports. The AIA’s new projects inquiry and design contracts indexes were also strong at 66 and 54.9, respectively.

“Business conditions for the design and construction marketplace, and those industries associated with it, appear to be well-positioned for continued growth in the coming months,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “The key to a more widespread boost in design activity continues to be the institutional sector which is starting to exhibit signs of life after languishing for the better part of the last five-plus years.”

A breakdown of regional highlights, after the break…

Regional Averages:

US ABI Shows Continued Growth in June

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The US Architecture Billings Index () continued showing significant improvement in June, jumping to 53.5 from 52.6 in May, and hitting new records in the Projects Inquiry and Design Contracts indexes.

As the American Institute of Architects (AIA) reports, the new Projects Inquiry Index surged to 66.4, its highest level in the year to date. In addition, the ’s new Design Contracts Index hit 55.7 – its highest mark since the indictor starting being measured in October 2010.

“The recent surge in both design contracts and general inquiries for new projects by prospective clients is indicative of a sustainable strengthening across the construction marketplace,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “With the first positive reading since last summer in billings at institutional firms, it appears that design activity for all major segments of the building industry is growing.  The challenge now for architecture firms seems to be finding the right balance for staffing needs to meet increasing demand.”

A breakdown of regional highlights, after the break…

May ABI Shows Return to Growth in US Market

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The US Architecture Billings Index showed a significant improvement in May, jumping to a score of 52.6 and showing some growth after two consecutive months of contraction. As the American Institute of Architects (AIA) reports, its two new measures of growth also showed positive results: the Project Inquiries Index rose to 63.2; and the Design Contracts Index – despite dropping slightly from last month’s 54.6 – still showed growth at 52.5 points.

“Volatility continues to be the watchword in the design and construction markets, with firms in some regions of the country, and serving some sectors of the industry, reporting strong growth, while others are indicating continued weakness,” said Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. , PhD. “However, overall, it appears that activity has recovered from the winter slump, and design professions should see more positive than negative numbers in the coming months.”

A breakdown of regional and sector highlights, after the break

April ABI Reflects Continued Decrease in Design Services

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For the last two months, the U.S. Architecture Billings Index has remained in negative territory. Although the ABI rose slightly from the previous month’s 48.8 mark to 49.6 in April, the score still reflects a decrease in design services. As the American Institute of Architects () reports, the new projects inquiry index also revealed a slight increase, rising from 57.9 to 59.1.

“Despite an easing in demand for architecture services over the last couple of months, there is a pervading sense of optimism that business conditions are poised to improve as the year moves on,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “With a healthy figure for design contracts this should translate into improved billings in the near future.”

A breakdown of regional highlights, after the break…

U.S. ABI Declines Sharply in March

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It seems the U.S. Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has yet to recover from 2013’s end of the year decline. Though 2014 started with a “modest uptick,” the March ABI has reveals a share decrease in design services. As reported by the American Institute of Architects (), the March ABI score was 48.8, down from a mark of 50.7 in February. Despite this, the new projects inquiry index was 57.9, up from the reading of 56.8 the previous month.

“This protracted softening in demand for design services is a bit of a surprise given the overall strength of the market the last year and a half,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “Hopefully, some of this can be attributed to severe weather conditions over this past winter. We will have a better sense if there is a reason for more serious concern over the next couple of months.”

A breakdown of regional highlights, after the break…

February ABI Reveals Slight Improvement

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After starting the year with a “modest uptick” that disrupted a three month cycle of decline, the (ABI) for Feburary has revealed that design services in the United States are continuing to (slowly) improve. As reported by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), last month’s ABI score was 50.7, up slightly from a mark of 50.4 in January. In contrast, the new projects inquiry index continued to fall, dwindling from 58.5 to 56.8 in February. This however, as AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker believes, could be due to harsh weather conditions that stalled construction activity throughout many parts of the country over the past few months .

More information and regional highlights, after the break… 

January ABI Reports “Modest Uptick”

January via CalculatedRiskBlog.com

Business in the has started the New Year on a more positive note, as January’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI) revealed the first increase in design services after three consecutive months of decline. As reported by the American Institute for Architects (AIA), the January numbers rose from December’s score of 48.5 to 50.4, indicating an increase in billings. However, the new projects inquiry index was 58.5, down a bit from the reading of 59.2 the previous month.

“There is enough optimism in the marketplace that business conditions should return to steady growth as the year progresses,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD.

December ABI Dips Again

December 2013 ABI. Image © CalculatedRiskBlog.com

Following consistently increasing demand for design services throughout most of 2013, the (ABI) has posted its first consecutive months of contraction since May and June of 2012. The American Institute of Architects () reported the December ABI score was 48.5, down from a mark of 49.8 in November.  This score reflects a decrease in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings).  The new projects inquiry index was 59.2, up from the reading of 57.8 the previous month.

More highlights from the December ABI, after the break…

November ABI Reflects Slight Contraction in Construction

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Despite six months of steady increase, the Architecture Billings Index () for November revealed a slight decrease in demand for design services. The November score was 49.8, down from 51.6 in October (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 57.8, down from 61.5 the previous month.

“This slight dip is likely just a minor, and hopefully temporary, lull in the progress of current design projects,” said Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. , PhD.  “But there is a continued uneasiness in the marketplace as businesses attempt to determine the future direction of demand for commercial, industrial, and institutional buildings.”

More highlights from the November ABI, after the break…

October ABI Reveals Decrease in Demand for Design Services

2013 October ABI. Image © Calculated Risk

After three consecutive months of growth, the American Institute of Architect’s () (ABI) has reveal a slight decrease in the demand for design services. Keeping in mind that any score above 50 indicates an increase in billing, the ABI score fell from 54.3 in September to 51.6 this past October. In contrast, the new projects inquiry index was 61.5, up from the reading of 58.6 the previous month.

September’s ABI Surges Higher

September 2013 ; Graph via Calculated Risk

Demand for design services in the U.S. continues to increase, as the (ABI) has reached its second highest level this year. According to the American Institute of Architects (AIA), September’s ABI score was 54.3, up from 53.8 in August. In contrast, the new projects inquiry index fell a few points from 63.0 in August to 58.6 in September. 

ABI Reports Strong Conditions in US Market

August , 2013 via Calculated Risk

The (ABI) has revealed more acceleration in the growth of design activity nationally. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the August ABI score was 53.8, up from a mark of 52.7 in July. This score reflects an increase in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 63.0, down from the reading of 66.4 the previous month.

“It is fair to say that the design professions are in a recovery mode,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA.  “…but a key component to maintaining this momentum is the ability of businesses to obtain financing for real estate projects, and for a resolution to the federal government budget and debt ceiling impasse.”

Key August ABI highlights:

July’s ABI Jumps Full Point, Indicates National Growth

July via Calculated Risk

The July Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has jumped to 52.7, up more than one full point from June’s 51.6, indicating “acceleration in the growth of design activity nationally.” As any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings, July’s score reflects an increase in demand for design services; this increase was seen most dramatically in the area of new projects, which jumped from 62.6 in June to 66.7 in July.

Despite the optimistic results,  Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, noted the uneven nature of the growth, and warned that “it is premature to declare the entire sector has entered an expansion phase.”

More statistics from July’s ABI, after the break…

June’s ABI Reflects Consistent Industry Growth

June via Calculated Risk

The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) remained positive again in June after the first decline in ten months in April. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects () reported the June ABI score was 51.6, down from a mark of 52.9 in May. This score reflects an increase in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 62.6, up sharply from the reading of 59.1 the previous month.

Key ABI highlights and details on the construction industries remaining threats after the break…

ABI Bounces Back in May

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Following the first negative downturn in ten months (what Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Phd, is hoping was just a “blip“), May’s (ABI) has bounced back from a score of 48.6 to 52.9. Any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings (aka an expansion in demand for architects’ services).

Baker notes that “there is [still] a resounding sense of uncertainty in the marketplace from clients to investors and an overall lack of confidence in the general economy – that is continuing to act as a governor on the business development engine for architecture firms.” However, the scores, which revealed the most growth in the Northeast as well as in the multi-family residential and institutional sectors, are good signs for the design and construction industries.

More results of this month’s ABI, after the break…

Positive Signs of Growth Reflected in Steady ABI and Higher Intern Employment Rates

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For the eight consecutive month, the Architecture Billings Index () is reflecting a steady upturn in design activity. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. Although the American Institute of Architects () reported the March score was 51.9, down from a mark of 54.9 in February, this score still reflects an increase in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). In addition, the new projects inquiry index was 60.1, down from the reading of 64.8 the previous month.

“Business conditions in the construction industry have generally been improving over the last several months,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA.  “But as we have continued to report, the recovery has been uneven across the major construction sectors so it’s not a big surprise that there was some easing in the pace of growth in March compared to previous months.”

Key ABI highlights and details indicating higher employment rates for intern architects after the break…