Following a nine-month stretch of positive billings, the American Institute of Architects‘ Architecture Billings Index (ABI) showed no increase in design activity in January. An economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects an approximate nine to 12 month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending. The January ABI score was 49.9, down from a mark of 52.7 in December. This score reflects a modest decrease in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings).
“This easing in demand for design services is a bit of a surprise given the overall strength of the market over the past nine months,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “Likely some of this can be attributed to severe weather conditions in January. We will have a better sense if there is a reason for more serious concern over the next couple of months.”
Key January ABI highlights:
—Regional averages: South (54.8), West (49.3), Midwest (50.8), Northeast (46.0)
—Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (51.4), institutional (53.0), commercial / industrial (50.9), mixed practice (46.9)