With increasing demand for design services, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) is continuing to strengthen. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the February ABI score was 54.9, up slightly from a mark of 54.2 in January. This score reflects a strong increase in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 64.8, higher than the reading of 63.2 the previous month – and its highest mark since January 2007.
“Conditions have been strengthening in all regions and construction sectors for the last several months,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “Still, we also continue to hear a mix of business conditions in the marketplace as this hesitant recovery continues to unfold.”
Key February ABI highlights:
• Regional averages: Northeast (56.7), Midwest (54.7), West (54.7), South (52.7),
• Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (60.9), mixed practice (56.9), commercial / industrial (53.3), institutional (50.7)
• Project inquiries index: 64.8
The regional and sector categories are calculated as a 3-month moving average, whereas the index and inquiries are monthly numbers.