The monthly AIA Architectural Billing Index declined in May but remained positive, dropping 3 points from March’s score of 56.5. The ABI is a leading economic indicator of construction activity in the United States and reflects a nine to 12-month lead time between architecture bills and construction spending nationally, regionally and by project type. A score above 50 represents an increase in bills from the previous month, and a score below 50 represents a contraction.
“The directional trend of the ABI is identical to that of the national economy: growing but slowing,” explains Ali Wolff, chief economist at Zonda parent company ARCHITECT. companies to understand the best use of their space.”
Design contracts and inquiries for new projects expanded in May. Inquiries regarding the new project scored a score of 63.9, up 1.6 points from the April score of 62.3. Design contracts came in at 56.9, up 1.5 points from the April score of 55.4. “Strength in design activity over the past three months has resulted in a broader base of gains. AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, said in an AIA press release.” With improvement inquiries and new design projects, demand is likely to remain Design services are up for the next several months, despite strong economic headwinds.”
Month-to-month changes in regional billing scores — which, unlike the national score, are calculated as three-month moving averages — were adjusted in May. Only one of the regional billing scores rose, but all stayed above 50.0. Billings in the Midwest fell 0.8 points to a score of 56.8, while Billings in the West rose 1.1 points to a score of 59.3. Billings in the South dropped 5 points to a score of 52.3, and Billings in the Northeast dropped 2.3 points to a score of 51.4.
All four sector billing results for May remained above 50.0 while they were below their April values. The commercial/industrial sector decreased by 3 points to a score of 57.7; The institutional sector fell 0.1 point to a score of 51.7. The multi-family residential score decreased 2.5 points to 54.5, and the mixed practice sector decreased 5 points to a score of 56.2. Like regional billing results, segment billing results are also calculated as three-month moving averages.
Sectoral Index Distribution: Commercial/Industrial (57.7); mixed exercise (56.2); multifamily housing (54.5); Founders (51.7)