The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the March Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score was 51.9, up from the mark of 50.3 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 58.1, down from a reading of 59.5 the previous month.
“The first quarter was somewhat disappointing in terms of the growth of design activity, but fortunately expanded a bit entering the traditionally busy spring season. The Midwest is lagging behind the other regions, but otherwise business conditions are generally healthy across the country,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “As the institutional market has cooled somewhat after a surge in design activity a year ago, the multi-family sector is reaccelerating at a healthy pace.”
- West (50.4)
- Northeast (51.0)
- South (52.4)
- Midwest (49.8)
Sector Index Breakdown
- Multi-Family Residential (55.7)
- Commercial / Industrial (51.8)
- Institutional (48.0)
- Mixed Practice (50.0)
Key March ABI Highlights
- Project inquiries index: 58.1
- Design contracts index: 51.8
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. Regional and sector categories are calculated as a 3-month moving average, whereas the index and inquiries are monthly numbers.