The party’s over, folks. Take down the streamers, re-cork that bottle of champagne, and turn off the Taylor Swift. Actually, on second thought, turn the Swift back on because “Shake It Off” might be exactly what we need to hear right now. We’ll tell it to you straight. After months of strong momentum, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) dropped from a 55.2 in September to a 53.7 in October. Here’s where Ms. Swift plays back into the data set—since any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings, things are still in the positive territory so we can shake, shake, shake the October Architecture Billings Index score off, more or less.
By region, the South was still feeling that summer heat, posting a strong 58.4. The West wasn’t too far behind with a 56.1, followed by the Midwest at 54.4. The Northeast broke the positive streak with a sub-50 score of 47.0. We’re not mad Northeast, we’re just…disappointed? Okay, moving on. Let’s talk sector, shall we? It was mixed practice at the front of the pack with a 56.9, followed by multi-family residential (54.7), institutional (54.4), and commercial / industrial (52.3).
While things are still positive overall, the Design Contracts Index and the Project Inquiry Index both lost some steam, dropping from 56.8 to 56.4 and from 64.8 to 62.7, respectively. But despite these disappointing figures, AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker remained optimistic. “Though it has been slow in emerging, we’re finally seeing some momentum develop in design activity for nonprofits and municipal governments, and as such we’re seeing a new round of activity in the institutional sector,” he said in a statement. “It will be interesting to see if and how the results of the mid-term Congressional and gubernatorial elections impact this developing momentum.” In short, shake it off.