After three consecutive months of growth, the American Institute of Architect’s (AIA) Architecture Billings Index (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.
“There continues to be a lot of uncertainty surrounding the overall U.S. economic outlook and therefore in the demand for nonresidential facilities, which often translates into slower progress on new building projects,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “That is particularly true when you factor in the federal government shutdown that delayed many projects that were in the planning or design phases.”
Key October ABI highlights:
- Regional averages: West (55.9), South (54.4), Midwest (51.6), Northeast (49.7)
- Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (57.0, commercial / industrial (53.7), mixed practice (53.2), institutional (50.2)
- Project inquiries index: 61.5
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 regional and sector categories are calculated as a 3-month moving average, whereas the index and inquiries are monthly numbers.