August Architectural Billings Index: Seventh Month of Improvement

Written by Brett Linton

Demand for design services from architecture firms in the U.S. improved for the seventh consecutive month, said the American Institute of Architects. AIA’s Architecture Billings Index rose from 54.6 in July to 55.6 in August. The ABI has expanded each month since January.

The index for new project inquiries fell by 0.3 points to 64.7, while the new design contracts index slipped 1.4 points to 56.6, said AIA.

“The surge in design activity continued in August, signifying an expected upturn in construction activity in the fourth quarter and continuing into 2022,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker. “This expected expansion will magnify the already serious problems of price inflation and availability of many construction products and materials, as well as the emerging labor shortages in the industry.”

The Architecture Billings Index is an economic indicator for nonresidential construction activity, with a lead time of approximately 9-12 months. A score above 50 indicates an increase in activity, and a score below 50 a decrease.

Key ABI highlights for August include:

  • Regional averages: West (57.2); Midwest (55.2); South (52.5); Northeast (51.7) 
  • Sector index breakdown: mixed practice (56.0); commercial/industrial (54.7); institutional (54.4); multi-family residential (54.3) 

Regional and sector scores are calculated as three-month averages.

Below is a graph showing the history of the AIA Architecture Billings 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 us at

Brett Linton

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