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 AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, 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
- South (58.1)
- Midwest (51.3)
- Northeast (47.6)
- West (46.9)
Sector index breakdown:
- Multi-family residential (58.2)
- Commercial / industrial (53.6)
- Mixed practice (50.4)
- Institutional (47.3)
Key May ABI Highlights:
- Project inquiries index: 63.2
- Design contracts index: 52.5
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. 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.