AIA: Architecture Billings' Growth Strengthened in January Despite Partial Government Shutdown

Starting the year on a strong note, architecture firm billings growth strengthened in January to a level not seen in the previous twelve months according to a new report released today from The American Institute of Architects (AIA).

AIA’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score for January was 55.3 compared to 51.0* in December. Indicators of work in the pipeline, including inquiries into new projects and the value of new design contracts, also strengthened in January.

“The government shutdown affected architecture firms but doesn’t appear to have created a slowdown in the profession,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “While AIA did hear from a few firms that were experiencing significant cash flow issues due to the shutdown, the data suggests that the majority of firms had no long-term impact.” 

Key ABI highlights for January include:

Regional averages: South (54.7), Midwest (54.4), Northeast (52.4), West (51.5)

Sector index breakdown: mixed practice (53.8), institutional (52.9), commercial/industrial (52.6), multi-family residential (52.6)

Project inquiries index: 59.6

Design contracts index: 53.8

Regional and sector categories above are calculated as a three-month moving average, whereas the national index, design contracts, and inquiries are monthly numbers.

Billings scores increased in two of the four individual industry sectors in January, all of which have shown growth since June. The multifamily residential score increased by 0.8 point to a score of 52.6, and the mixed practice sector's score grew by 0.7 points to a score of 53.8. The commercial/industrial sector's score decreased by 0.4 points to a score of 52.6, and the Institutional sector posted a score of 52.9, a 0.4-point decrease from December's revised score of 53.3. (Results of sectors are also calculated as three-month moving averages.)

*Every January the AIA research department updates the seasonal factors used to calculate the ABI, resulting in a revision of recent ABI values.