Architecture Billings Index (ABI) dropped in November which has been the case multiple times this year.
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. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the November ABI score was 49.3, down from the mark of 53.1 in the previous month. This score reflects a decrease in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 58.6, up just a nudge from a reading of 58.5 the previous month.
AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD stated “Since architecture firms continue to report that they are bringing in new projects, this volatility in billings doesn’t seem to reflect any underlying weakness in the construction sector. Rather, it could reflect the uncertainty of moving ahead with projects given the continued tightness in construction financing and the growing labor shortage problem gripping the entire design and construction industries.”
Key November ABI numbers:
- Regional averages: South (55.4), West(54.5), Midwest (47.8), Northeast (46.2)
- Sector Index breakdown: multi-family (53.8), institutional (51.4), commercial / industrial (55.1), mixed practice (54.9)