March ABI Continues to Increase

March 2015 . Image © CalculatedRiskBlog.com

For the second consecutive month, the US Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has indicated a “modest increase” in design activity in March. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the March ABI score was 51.7, up from a mark of 50.4 in February. The new projects inquiry index was 58.2, up from a reading of 56.6 the previous month.

“Business conditions at architecture firms generally are quite healthy across the country. However, billings at firms in the Northeast were set back with the severe weather conditions, and this weakness is apparent in the March figures,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “The multi-family residential market has seen its first occurrence of back-to-back negative months for the first time since 2011, while the institutional and commercial sectors are both on solid footing.”

February ABI Reports “Nominal Increase” in Design Activity

February 2015 ABI. Image © CalculatedRiskBlog.com

The US Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has returned to a healthy state, recovering from its first negative score in ten months. Showing a “nominal increase” in design activity, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported February’s ABI at a score of 50.4, up from a mark of 49.9 in January. The new projects inquiry index was 56.6, down from a reading of 58.7 the previous month.

A breakdown of regional highlights, after the break.

January ABI Falls into the Red

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After nine consecutive months of growth, January’s Architecture Billing Index (ABI) reported a “softening” in US design activity. According to the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the January ABI score was 49.9, down from a mark of 52.7 in December. This score reflects a “very modest decrease” in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 58.7, down from the reading of 59.1 the previous month.

“This easing in demand for design services is a bit of a surprise given the overall strength of the market over the past nine months,” said Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. , PhD. “Likely some of this can be attributed to severe weather conditions in January. 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.

AIA Says December ABI Closed 2014 on “Solid Footing”

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Rising from a score of 50.9 to 52.2 in December, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) closed 2014 on “solid footing.” As reported by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), design services continued to increase throughout the majority of last year and all regions, except the Northeast, experienced favorable conditions.

“Business conditions continue to be the strongest at architecture firms in the South and the Western regions,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “Particularly encouraging is the continued solid upturn in design activity at institutional firms, since public sector facilities were the last nonresidential building project type to recover from the downturn.”

A breakdown of regional highlights, after the break.

November ABI Continues to Drop

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While the US Architecture Billing Index (ABI) has remained positive for seven consecutive months, the score continues to slowly drop and is now teetering on the edge of falling into the red. As the American Institute of Architects () says, any score above 50 reflects an increase in design services. However, November’s ABI score was 50.9, down from the mark of 53.7 in October, revealing a drop in demand. The new projects inquiry index was 58.8, following a mark of 62.7 the previous month.

“Demand for design services has slowed somewhat from the torrid pace of the summer, but all project sectors are seeing at least modest growth,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “Architecture firms are expecting solid mid-single digit gains in revenue for 2014, but heading into 2015, they are concerned with finding quality contractors for projects, coping with volatile construction materials costs and with finding qualified architecture staff for their firms.”

A breakdown of regional highlights, after the break.

October ABI Reveals Decrease in Demand for Design Services

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Demand for design services in the US has slowed. According to the latest (ABI) reported by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the October ABI score was 53.7, down from a mark of 55.2 in September, and the new projects inquiry index fell to 62.7. Despite this, the demand is still considered “healthy” with the South showing the strongest regional conditions.

“Though it has been slow in emerging, we’re finally seeing some momentum develop in design activity for nonprofits and municipal governments, and as such we’re seeing a new round of activity in the institutional sector,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “It will be interesting to see if and how the results of the mid-term Congressional and gubernatorial elections impact this developing momentum.”

A breakdown of regional highlights, after the break.

August ABI Remains Strong

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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 (ABI) 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 Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. , 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…

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

April ABI. Image Courtesy of CalculatedRiskBlog.com

For the last two months, the U.S. 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 (AIA), 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

February ABI. Image Courtesy of CalculatedRiskBlog.com

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 (), 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 United States 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 (), 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.

November ABI Reflects Slight Contraction in Construction

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Despite six months of steady increase, the (ABI) for November revealed a slight decrease in demand for design services. The November ABI 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…

ABI Reports Strong Conditions in US Market

August , 2013 via Calculated Risk

The Architecture Billings Index (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 () 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 (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 (AIA) 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 Architecture Billing Index () 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 (ABI) is reflecting a steady upturn in design activity. 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. Although the American Institute of Architects () reported the March ABI 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…