Keeping with our coverage of the Architecture Billings Index, while the past index saw a slight decrease from 58.7 to 55.0 in March, the AIA has just announced that the index has dropped quite a bit to 47.6 for April. This billing marks the first point since October to register below 50. As the AIA explained,“It remains unclear if this month’s downturn is a bump in the road to recovery, or indicative of a longer-term reversal in the two-quarter recovery in design activity. Firms reported that the threatened federal government shutdown, tornadoes though the Southeast, and the winding down of federal stimulus funds for building activity all were impediments to design activity in April.”
Regionally, the South and West regions are still struggling to break 50, with the South reporting 48.3 and the West 47.7. Yet, as the AIA reports, some Southern firms may see a possible increase in work activity to rebuild from the recent storms and flooding. The Northeast and Midwest reported 51.2 and 51.1, respectively, and the multi-family residential sector holds strong at 53.9; followed by commercial / industrial at 49.9, institutional at 45.9 and finally, mixed practice at 45.2.