Design Billings Maintain Solid Footing, with Strong Momentum Reflected in Both Project Inquiries and Design Contracts

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Balanced growth results in billings gains in all sectors 

Design services at architecture firms continue to project a healthy disposition on the construction industry as the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) recorded the fourth consecutive month of growth. 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 May ABI score was 53.0, up from a score of 50.9 in the previous month. This score reflects an increase in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 62.4, up from a reading of 60.2 the previous month, while the new design contracts index increased from 53.2 to 54.8.

This press release can also be viewed here: https://www.aia.org/press-releases/136231-design-billings-maintain-solid-footing-with

“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.”

Key May ABI highlights:

  • Regional averages: South (56.1), West (52.3), Midwest (50.4), Northeast (46.5)
  • Sector index breakdown: mixed practice (55.8), multi-family residential (51.3), commercial / industrial (51.2), institutional (51.2)
  • Project inquiries index: 62.4
  • Design contracts index: 54.8

The regional and sector categories are calculated as a 3-month moving average, whereas the national index, design contracts and inquiries are monthly numbers.


The Architecture Billings Index (ABI), produced by the AIA Economics & Market Research Group, is a leading economic indicator that provides an approximately nine to twelve month glimpse into the future of nonresidential construction spending activity.

Founded in 1857, the American Institute of Architects consistently works to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through nearly 300 state and local chapters, the AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public wellbeing.

 

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