Rising from a score of 50.9 to 52.2 in December, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) closed 2014 on "solid footing." As reported by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), design services continued to increase throughout the majority of last year and all regions, except the Northeast, experienced favorable conditions.
“Business conditions continue to be the strongest at architecture firms in the South and the Western regions,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “Particularly encouraging is the continued solid upturn in design activity at institutional firms, since public sector facilities were the last nonresidential building project type to recover from the downturn.”
A breakdown of regional highlights, after the break.
Also in December, the new projects inquiry index was 58.2, following a mark of 58.8 the previous month. Design contracts posted a mark of 49.9, after a 54.9 score in November.
- Midwest (50.8)
- South (56.8)
- Northeast (45.5)
- West (52.9)
Sector Index Breakdown:
- Multi-family residential (55.7)
- Mixed Practice (45.8)
- Commercial/Industrial (51.2)
- Institutional (52.5)
Key August ABI Highlights:
- Project inquiries index (58.2)
- Design contracts index (49.9)
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.