Led by the commercial sector, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has remained in positive territory four months in a row. 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. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the February ABI score was 51.0, following a mark of 50.9 in January. This score reflects a slight increase in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 63.4, up from mark of 61.2 the previous month and its highest reading since July 2007.
Key February ABI highlights:
- Regional averages: Midwest (56.0), South (51.3), Northeast (51.0), West (45.6)
- Sector index breakdown: commercial / industrial (55.1), multi-family residential (53.3),institutional (50.3), mixed practice (46.3)
- Project inquiries index: 63.4
The regional and sector categories are calculated as a 3-month moving average, whereas the index and inquiries are monthly numbers.