Architecture firms reported flat billings in June, according to the latest Architecture Billings Index (ABI) from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and Deltek.
The ABI score of 50.1 for the month indicates that billings at architecture firms remained steady as design activity continues to slowly recover from roiled economic conditions. This also marks the first time since last fall that there have been two consecutive months of scores above 50, although growth in June was weaker than May (any score above 50 indicates an increase in firm billings).
“It is encouraging to see two consecutive months of stability in billings after a couple quarters of weakness due to high inflation, rising interest rates, and increased construction costs,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “We are still facing some headwinds in the broader economy, but this respite suggests that market conditions may be finding firmer ground.”
Firms located in the Midwest continue to report the strongest billings for the eighth consecutive month, while firms in nearly all regions of the country also reported improving business conditions in June. Firms also reported that inquiries into new projects fell slightly from 57.2 to 56.7 the previous month. Further, the value of new design contracts edged up to 52.7 in June from 52.3 in May.
Firm backlogs have decreased from their record-high levels in 2022 but remain robust at an average of 6.8 months.
The AIA/Deltek ABI is a leading economic indicator derived from a monthly survey sent to AIA member-owned firms which measures demand for design services by architecture firms throughout U.S., providing insight into current and future construction activity across various sectors including commercial/industrial/institutional buildings and residential projects such as single-family housing and multifamily units.
Key ABI highlights for June include:
- Regional averages: Midwest (52.4); Northeast (50.6); South (50.5); West (48.6)
- Sector index breakdown: institutional (55.4); mixed practice (firms that do not have at least half of their billings in any one other category) (48.8); commercial/industrial (47.8); multi-family residential (47.4)
- Project inquiries index: 56.7
- Design contracts index: 52.7
The regional and sector categories are calculated as three-month moving averages and may not always average out to the national score.
Visit AIA’s website for detailed information about this, and past billing index reports.