For the fifth consecutive month, architecture firms recorded increasing demand for design services as reflected in the June Architecture Billings Index (ABI). 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.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the June ABI score was 54.2, up from a score of 53.0 in the previous month. This score reflects an increase in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 58.6, down from a reading of 62.4 the previous month, while the new design contracts index decreased from 54.8 to 53.7.
“So far this year, new activity coming into architecture firms has generally exceeded their ability to complete ongoing projects,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “Now, firms seem to be ramping up enough to manage these growing workloads.”
Key June ABI highlights:
- Regional averages: South (54.8), West (53.1), Midwest (51.9), Northeast (51.5)
- Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (57.1), mixed practice (53.8), institutional (52.6), commercial / industrial (52.1)
- Project inquiries index: 58.6
- Design contracts index: 53.7
The regional and sector categories are calculated as a 3-month moving average, whereas the national index, design contracts and inquiries are monthly numbers.