Although the year began with a decline, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has shown three consecutive months of increasing demand for design activity at architecture firms. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the April ABI score was 50.6. Although down from March's score of 51.9, this score still reflects an increase in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 56.9, down from 58.1 in the previous month.
“Architects continue to report a wide range of business conditions, with unusually high variation in design activity across the major building categories,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “The strong growth in design contracts – the strongest score for this indicator since last summer -- certainly suggests that firms will be reporting growth in billings over the next several months.”
- South (52.2)
- Northeast (51.5)
- West (50.8)
- Midwest (50.8)
Sector Index Breakdown:
- Multi-Family Residential (53.7)
- Commercial / Industrial (52.0)
- Mixed Practice (50.0)
- Institutional (49.0)
Key April ABI highlights:
- Project inquiries index: 56.9
- Design contracts index: 54.3
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.
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