As the prognosis for the design and construction industry continues to improve, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) is reflecting its strongest growth since November 2007. 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 January ABI score was 54.2, up sharply from a mark of 51.2 in December. (Every January the AIA research department updates the seasonal factors used to calculate the ABI, resulting in a revision of recent ABI values.)
This score reflects a strong increase in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 63.2, much higher than the reading of 57.9 the previous month.
Key January ABI highlights:
- Regional averages: Midwest (54.4), West (53.4), South (51.7), Northeast (50.3)
- Sector index breakdown: mixed practice (54.9), multi-family residential (54.5), commercial / industrial (52.0), institutional (50.2)
- Project inquiries index: 63.2
The regional and sector categories are calculated as a 3-month moving average, whereas the index and inquiries are monthly numbers.