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 (AIA) 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…
In response to the dip, the AIA has released a new indicator measuring the trends in new design contracts at architecture firms that can provide a strong signal of the direction of future architecture billings. The score for design contracts in April was 54.6, up from 48.2.
- South (57.5)
- West (48.9)
- Northeast (42.9)
- Midwest (47.0)
Sector Index Breakdown:
- Multi-Family Residential (52.6)
- Commercial / Industrial (50.2)
- Institutional (47.1)
- Mixed practice (50.7)
Key March ABI Highlights:
- Project inquiries index: 59.1
- Design contracts index: 54.6
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. Regional and sector categories are calculated as a 3-month moving average, whereas the index and inquiries are monthly numbers. Any score above 50 reflects an increase in design services.
News via the AIA.