The Architecture Billings Index remained in contraction in May with a score of 32.0 following a record drop in billings in April, said the American Institute of Architects. Although the monthly scores moderated slightly, billings continued to decrease, inquiries continued to decline and the value of newly signed contracts remained at near record-lows. The projects inquiry index registered 38.0 and design contracts index 33.1.
“A large portion of the design and construction industry remains mired in steep cutbacks as many businesses and organizations are still trying to figure out what actions make sense in this uncertain economic environment, “said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker. “There are growing signs of activity beginning to pick up in some areas, but others are seeing a pause as pandemic concerns continue to grow.”
A decline in billings occurred across all sectors: institutional (35.7); multi-family residential (34.8); mixed practice (28.5); commercial/industrial (24.8).
AIA noted that business conditions were very soft across all regions with the Northeast reporting the steepest decline in billings. Construction projects that were halted during the pandemic are now able to resume and “less dismal” conditions may be seen in June, said the AIA.
The regional averages were well below the neutral point of 50: West (36.0); South (30.6); Midwest (29.7); and Northeast (25.1).
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