This morning, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported that the Architectural Billing Index (ABI*) rose for the sixth consecutive month. Compared to previous months, growth slowed slightly, but is still showing an overall increase in billings. The July 2017 ABI score came in at 51.9 (any score above 50 indicates growth), as compared to the June score of 54.2 and May’s score of 53.
Commenting on July’s figure, AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD said, “The July figures show the continuation of healthy trends in the construction sector of our economy… in addition to the balanced increases in design billings across all major regions and construction sectors, the strong gains in new project work coming into architecture firms points to future growth in design and construction activity over coming quarters.”
All regions showed growth in design service demand. The ABI index for the Northeast was 53.6 and the West came in at 50.9. Similarly, the South and Midwest registered at 53.8.
The commercial/industrial sector ABI climbed to a 55.4 in July, up from 52.1 in June. The institutional sector moderated from 52.6 in June to 52 in July.
This continued growth in design services bodes will for construction activity in the upcoming months.
*The ABI (Architectural Billing Index) is an economic indicator of construction activity. The score is derived from results of a monthly survey asking AIA firms whether their billings increased, decreased or stayed the same from prior month. Anything about a score of 50 indicates an increase in billings; below a 50 indicates a decline. The score is also a predictor of construction spending with a nine to twelve-month gap between architectural spending and construction spending. ABI news is broken out on a monthly and quarterly basis.