The American Institute of Architects (AIA) announced this morning that the Architectural Billing Index* (ABI) slipped slightly in the month of November. Last month’s score came in at 50.6 whereas October’s ABI score was a 50.8. Despite the slight decline, November marked the second-consecutive month of increased demand for design services.
Within the index, multifamily residential had the highest score at 51.7, followed by mixed-practice at 51.3, commercial/industrial at 50.4 and institutional at 49.5.
AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker has pointed to the ambiguity surrounding the election as having an impact on ABI scores for the past several months. This month, he attributes the stagnant ABI scores to uncertainty surrounding President-elect Donald Trump’s infrastructure plans. He believes that it is “still too early” to determine how Trump’s plan will impact the industry.
Baker added that “architects will be among the first to see what new construction projects materialize,” and he expects the next few months to offer a more clear direction for the future of the industry. Most construction economists expect construction activity to continue growing in at a rate of 5%-7% 2017.
*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.