Yesterday, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported that the Architectural Billing Index (ABI*) continued to rise for the fourth month in a row. May’s ABI score rose to 53.0, up from 50.9 in April. This score reflects an increase in design services (any score above a 50 indicates and increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 62.4, up from 60.2 the previous month. Design contracts also showed growth, increasing from a score of 53.2 in April to a 54.8 in May.
These positive scores provide confidence that the architecture and construction industries will remain healthy for the next 12-18 months. “The fact that the data surrounding both new project inquiries and design contracts have remained positive every month this year, while reaching their highest scores for the year, is a good indication that both the architecture and construction sectors will remain healthy for the foreseeable future,” AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “This growth hasn’t been an overnight escalation, but rather a steady, stable increase.”
Regional averages were varied. The South and West regions both showed increases for the month of May. The South was at 56.1, up from 55.3 last month. The West came in at 52.3 for the month of May, up from 50.9 in April. The Northeast dropped to a 46.5 in May, compared to a 50.7 in April. The Midwest dropped from a 53.3 in April to a 50.4 in May.
May 2017 ABI Index (National)- 53.0
May 2017 New Projects Inquiry Index- 62.4
May 2017 Design Contracts Index- 54.8
May 2017 ABI Index (South)- 56.1
May 2017 ABI Index (West)- 52.3
May 2017 ABI Index (Northeast)- 46.5
May 2017 ABI Index (Midwest)- 50.4
*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.