May ABI Scores Highest of the Year

Written by Sandy Williams

The American Institute of Architects reports that May indices for new project inquiries and contracts reached their highest level so far in 2017. The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) climbed 2.1 points to a score of 53.0. New project inquires increased 2.2 points for a reading of 62.4 and the new design contracts index reached 54.8 from April’s score of 53.2. The increases in new project inquiries over the past months bode well for construction spending.

“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,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker. “This growth hasn’t been an overnight escalation, but rather a steady, stable increase.”

ABI regional averages: South (56.1), West (52.3), Midwest (50.4), Northeast (46.5)

ABI sector breakdown: Mixed practice (55.8), multi-family residential (51.3), commercial/industrial (51.2), institutional (51.2)

The ABI is considered a leading economic indicator of construction activity, and reflects the approximate nine- to 12-month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending. The regional and sector categories are calculated as a three-month moving average, whereas the national index, design contracts and inquiries are monthly numbers. The monthly ABI index scores are centered on the neutral mark of 50, with scores above 50 indicating growth in billings and scores below 50 indicating a decline.

Below is a graph showing the history of the AIA Billings Index and Inquiries Index. You will need to view the graph on our website to use its interactive features, you can do so by clicking here. If you need assistance logging into or navigating the website, please contact our office at 800-432-3475 or

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