WASHINGTON – Architecture firm billing activity is contracting once again after two months of a slowing decline, according to a new report from the American Institute of Architects (AIA).
The pace of decline during November accelerated from October, posting an Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score of 46.3 from 47.5 (any score below 50 indicates a decline in firm billings). The pace of inquiries into new projects slowed, but remained positive with a score of 52.0, however the value of new design contracts dipped back into negative territory with a score 48.6.
“In previous design cycles, we typically haven’t seen a straight line back to growth after a downturn hits,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “The path to recovery is shaping up to be bumpier than we hoped for. While there are pockets of optimism in design services demand, the overall construction landscape remains depressed.”
Key ABI highlights for November include:
- Regional averages: Midwest (50.1); West (48.3); South (46.7); Northeast (38.7)
- Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (52.2); mixed practice (49.5); commercial/industrial (47.5); institutional (41.9)
- Project inquiries index: 52.0
- Design contracts index: 48.6
The regional and sector categories are calculated as a three-month moving average, whereas the national index, design contracts and inquiries are monthly numbers.