The July Architecture Billings Index held steady at 40.0, the same as June, indicating that business activity continues to be soft at firms, reports the American Institute of Architects.
The project Inquiries index slipped from 49.3 in June to 49.1 in July, while the index for design contracts fell sharply from 44.0 to 41.7. Any reading below 50 indicates a decline in activity.
“It’s clear the pandemic continued to contribute to uncertainty in business conditions, especially as cases spiked in states across the country,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker. “While clients expressed interest in exploring new projects, many are hesitant to sign onto new contracts with the exception of the multifamily residential sector, which came close to seeing billings growth in July.”
Billings declined in all sectors with the breakdown showing multifamily residential at 47.5, mixed practice at 44.0, institutional at 39.5 and commercial/industrial at 35.4.
The Northeast continued to trail the regional averages at 36.8. The three-month billing average was 40.9 in the West, 40.7 in the South and 40.1 in the Midwest.
AIA asked firms to predict how their revenue would change in the third quarter of 2020. The average expected decline was 4.6 percent, but more than a quarter of firms said they anticipate an uptick in revenue. Those firms specializing in multifamily residential expressed the most optimism with 46 percent expecting to see an increase in revenue in the third quarter.
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