After two months of a decreasing demand for design services, the US Architecture Billing Index (ABI) has bounced back into positive territory. As the American Institute of Architects (AIA) report, May's ABI score was 51.9, up from a mark of 48.8 in April. The new projects inquiry index was 61.5, up from a reading of 60.1 the previous month. This growth was lead by a growing demand for new schools, hospitals, cultural facilities and municipal buildings.
A breakdown of regional highlights, after the break.
“As has been the case for the past several years, while the design and construction industry has been in a recovery phase, we continue to receive mixed signals on business conditions in the marketplace,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “Generally, the business climate is favorable, but there are still construction sectors and regions of the country that are struggling, producing the occasional backslide in the midst of what seems to be growing momentum for the entire industry.”
- Midwest (52.3)
- South (54.6)
- Northeast (45.2)
- West (49.9)
Sector Index Breakdown:
- Multi-family residential (45.9)
- Mixed Practice (52.5)
- Commercial/Industrial (48.3)
- Institutional (55.2)
Key May ABI Highlights:
- Project inquiries index (61.5)
- Design contracts index (53.4)
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.