All good things must come to an end. Following a robust six months, the demand for design services has simmered down. In November, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) slid from 51.6 in October to 49.8 (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). This the second month in a row that the ABI has experienced a small dip.
“Architecture firms continue to report widely varying views of business conditions across the country. This slight dip is likely just a minor, and hopefully temporary, lull in the progress of current design projects,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “But there is a continued uneasiness in the marketplace as businesses attempt to determine the future direction of demand for commercial, industrial, and institutional buildings.”
Across the country, regional averages fell by several points. The West took the biggest hit with numbers tumbling to a low from 55.9 in October to 50.2 in November. It was a slow month for the Northeast as well, dropping to 47.5 from 49.7 in October. The South also went through a bit of a slump, dipping more than two points to 52. The Midwest came out the best, remaining steady at 51.6.
Figures revealed that the commercial/industrial sector came to a crawl last month, falling most dramatically from 53.7 in October to 48.6. All the remaining sectors experienced a decline in November as well: multi-family residential (55.2), mixed practice (53.1), institutional (47.7).
In more bad news, the project inquiries index dropped from 61.5 to 57.8.