The US Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has dipped again, this time falling from a mark of 53.1 in October to 49.3 in November. As the American Institute of Architects (AIA) report, "this score reflects a decrease in design services (any score above 50 indicated an increase in billings)." The new projects inquiry index was 58.6, up just a nudge from a reading of 58.5 the previous month.
“Since architecture firms continue to report that they are bringing in new projects, this volatility in billings doesn’t seem to reflect any underlying weakness in the construction sector,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “Rather, it could reflect the uncertainty of moving ahead with projects given the continued tightness in construction financing and the growing labor shortage problem gripping the entire design and construction industries.”
- South (55.4)
- West (54.5)
- Midwest (47.8)
- Northeast (46.2)
Sector Index Breakdown
- Multi-family residential (53.8)
- Mixed practice (47.6)
- Commercial / Industrial (51.0)
- Institutional (52.0)
Key October ABI Highlights
- Project inquiries index: 58.6
- Design contracts index: 53.5
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.