Following a drop of almost a full point in June, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) fell again by more than a point in July, this according to an American Institute of Architects (AIA) press release. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to 12 month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. The AIA reported the July ABI score was 45.1, the steepest decline in billings since February 2010, after a reading of 46.3 the previous month. This score reflects a continued decrease in demand for design services. The new projects inquiry index was 53.7, a considerable slowdown from a reading of 58.1in June.
“Business conditions for architecture firms have turned down sharply,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker in the press release. “Late last year, and in the first couple of months of this year, there was a sense that we were slowly pulling out of the downturn. Now the concern is that we haven’t yet reached the bottom of the cycle. Current high levels of uncertainly in the economy don’t point to an immediate turnaround.”