ABI Shows Growth in May

Written by Sandy Williams

The Architecture Billings Index rose to 51.9 in May from 47.8 in April. The Index, which reflects the approximate nine to 12 month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending, showed an increase in demand for new schools, hospitals, cultural facilities and municipal buildings last month.

The ABI, published monthly by the American Institute for Architects (AIA), has fallen twice so far in 2015, and is now back in positive territory. Any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings for design services.

“As has been the case for the past several years, while the design and construction industry has been in a recovery phase, we continue to receive mixed signals on business conditions in the marketplace,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “Generally, the business climate is favorable, but there are still construction sectors and regions of the country that are struggling, producing the occasional backslide in the midst of what seems to be growing momentum for the entire industry.”

The ABI highlights are:

 – Regional averages: South (54.6), Midwest (52.3), West (49.9) Northeast (45.2)
 – Sector index breakdown: institutional (55.2), mixed practice (52.5), commercial / industrial (48.3) multi-family residential (45.9)
 – Project inquiries index: 61.5
 – Design contracts index: 53.4

Note: An interactive ABI Chart can be accessed by logging into the SMU website and visiting this page. A screenshot of the graphic is below.

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