For the second month this year, the US Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has revealed a decrease in design serves. As the American Institute of Architects (AIA) report, the April ABI score was 48.8, down sharply from a mark of 51.7 in March. The new projects inquiry index was 60.1, up from a reading of 58.2 the previous month.
“The fundamentals in the design and construction industry remain very healthy,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “The fact that both inquires for new projects and new design contracts continued to accelerate at a healthy pace in April points to strong underlying demand for design activity. However, April would typically be a month where these projects would be in full swing, but a severe winter in many parts of the Northeast and Midwest has apparently delayed progress on projects.”
A breakdown of regional highlights, after the break.
- Midwest (49.9)
- South (55.8)
- Northeast (43.2)
- West (52.9)
Sector Index Breakdown:
- Multi-family residential (49.0)
- Mixed Practice (51.8)
- Commercial/Industrial (48.9)
- Institutional (51.8)
Key August ABI Highlights:
- Project inquiries index (60.1)
- Design contracts index (53.1)
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.