Architecture Billings Index Slips Below Key Growth Reference Point

Written by Sandy Williams

The Architecture Billings Index slipped below the neutral point in August indicating a decrease in construction design planning. The August ABI score registered 49.1, down from 54.7 in July. The new projects inquiry index dropped to 61.8, down from 63.7.

The slip is “not a cause for concern” according to AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker:

“Over the past several years, a period of sustained growth in billings has been followed by a temporary step backwards,” said Baker. “The fact that project inquiries and new design contracts continue to grow at a healthy pace suggests that this should not be a cause for concern throughout the design and construction industry.”

The design contracts index was at 55.3 for August.

The regional averages were: Midwest (56.1), South (53.8), West (50.2) Northeast (46.8).

The breakdown by sector was: institutional (53.7), mixed practice (52.8), commercial / industrial (49.7) multi-family residential (49.5)

The ABI, a diffusion index published monthly by the American Institute of Architects, reflects the nine to twelve month lead time between architecture billings and nonresidential construction spending. A score above 50 indicates an increase in billings. The regional and sector categories are calculated as a 3-month moving average, whereas the national index, design contracts and inquiries are monthly numbers.

Below is a graph showing the history of the Architecture Billings and Inquiries Indexes. You will need to view the graph on our website to use it’s interactive features, you can do so by clicking here. If you need assistance with either logging in or navigating the website, please contact our office at 800-432-3475 or

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