Demand for design services in the U.S. continues to increase, as the Architecture Billings Index (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.
“The prolonged economic downturn that has affected the design and construction industry has actually resulted in the increased productivity levels as reported by architecture firms,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “ In addition to new approaches to business challenges, a very competitive marketplace, the utilization of new technologies, and a renewed focus on efficiency have architecture firms realizing all-time highs in workplace productivity, and these new efficiencies can greatly benefit clients from a project timeline and budget standpoint.”
Key September ABI highlights:
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. Any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings.
The regional and sector categories are calculated as a 3-month moving average, whereas the index and inquiries are monthly numbers.