After a slight decline in April, the Architecture Billings Index was up a tenth of a point to 42.9 in May. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. Any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings.
The U.S. architecture industry has now experienced flat or lower billings for 16 straight months, dating back to January 2008. The low point was January 2009, when the ABI bottomed out at 33.3.
Of the four geographic regions tracked by AIA for the index, the Northeast fared the best, with a 48.3 index score in May, followed by the Midwest (41.5), South (41.3), and West (39.4). When broken down by sector, multifamily residential scored the highest (45.5), followed by mixed practice (44.5), commercial/industrial (43.1), institutional (38.0).
About the AIA Architecture Billings Index
The Architecture Billings Index is derived from a monthly “Work-on-the-Boards” survey and produced by the AIA Economics & Market Research Group. Based on a comparison of data compiled since the survey’s inception in 1995 with figures from the Department of Commerce on Construction Put in Place, the findings amount to a leading economic indicator that provides an approximately nine to twelve month glimpse into the future of nonresidential construction activity. The diffusion indexes contained in the full report are derived from a monthly survey sent to a panel of AIA member-owned firms. Participants are asked whether their billings increased, decreased, or stayed the same in the month that just ended. According to the proportion of respondents choosing each option, a score is generated, which represents an index value for each month.
About The American Institute of Architects
For over 150 years, members of the American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. By using sustainable design practices, materials, and techniques, AIA architects are uniquely poised to provide the leadership and guidance needed to provide solutions to address climate change. AIA architects walk the walk on sustainable design. Visit www.aia.org/walkthewalk.