After a two-month slump, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has come back with a vengeance, storming to a score of 50.8 in October. In the months prior, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported scores of 49.7 and 48.4 (for August and September respectively). While this may be good news on a national scale, the only region to report positive figures was the South—an area which hasn’t seen a dip in billings growth since June 2012.
The ABI, the leading economic indicator of construction activity, reflects a 9 to 12 month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending. The national index, design contracts, and inquiries are calculated monthly, while the regional and sector categories are calculated as a three-month moving average. The index runs on a scale from 0-100 and scores above 50 suggest growth while anything below implies negativity in the market.
Key October ABI highlights:
- Regional averages: South (53.7), West (49.7), Northeast (47.3) Midwest (46.8)
- Sector index breakdown: Multi-family residential (51.2), Commercial/Industrial (49.8), Mixed Practice (49.5), Institutional (49.1)
- Project inquiries index: 55.4
- Design contracts index: 48.7
Due to small sample sizes, the regional and sector categories are calculated as a 3-month moving average. On the other hand, for the national index, design contracts and inquiries are monthly figures.