For the second consecutive month, the US Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has indicated a "modest increase" in design activity in March. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the March ABI score was 51.7, up from a mark of 50.4 in February. The new projects inquiry index was 58.2, up from a reading of 56.6 the previous month.
“Business conditions at architecture firms generally are quite healthy across the country. However, billings at firms in the Northeast were set back with the severe weather conditions, and this weakness is apparent in the March figures,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “The multi-family residential market has seen its first occurrence of back-to-back negative months for the first time since 2011, while the institutional and commercial sectors are both on solid footing.”
A breakdown of regional highlights, after the break.
- Midwest (51.0)
- South (54.5)
- Northeast (45.8)
- West (50.4)
Sector Index Breakdown:
- Multi-family residential (49.7)
- Mixed Practice (46.2)
- Commercial/Industrial (53.0)
- Institutional (53.2)
Key August ABI Highlights:
- Project inquiries index (58.2)
- Design contracts index (52.3)
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.