The US Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has returned to a healthy state, recovering from its first negative score in ten months. Showing a "nominal increase" in design activity, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported February's ABI at a score of 50.4, up from a mark of 49.9 in January. The new projects inquiry index was 56.6, down from a reading of 58.7 the previous month.
A breakdown of regional highlights, after the break.
“The health of the institutional market has been the key factor for positive business conditions for the design and construction industry in recent months, and it is encouraging to see that sector remain on solid footing,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “However, we’re seeing some slowing in the other major construction sectors. Design billings for residential projects had its first negative month in over three years, and commercial design billings have seen only modest growth in recent years.”
- Midwest (50.2)
- South (52.5)
- Northeast (48.0)
- West (46.7)
Sector Index Breakdown:
- Multi-family residential (48.9)
- Mixed Practice (45.3)
- Commercial/Industrial (51.4)
- Institutional (52.2)
Key August ABI Highlights:
- Project inquiries index (56.6)
- Design contracts index (50)
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.