Marking five consecutive months of positive scores, the Architecture Billings Index score for June prolonged the purple patch for U.S. architecture firms.
If last year is anything to go by, the billings index did not drop until August. For June, a score of 54.2 was reported, a steady increase from May’s 53.0. While scores overall increased, particularly on the East Coast, the projects inquiry index was 58.6, down from a reading of 62.4. Also on the decrease, though staying positive, was the design contracts index which dipped from 54.8 to 53.7.
The ABI is the leading economic indicator of construction activity. It 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
“So far this year, new activity coming into architecture firms has generally exceeded their ability to complete ongoing projects,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD in a press release. “Now, firms seem to be ramping up enough to manage these growing workloads.”
Key June ABI highlights:
- Regional averages: South (54.8), West (53.1), Midwest (51.9), Northeast (51.5)
- Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (57.1), mixed practice (53.8), institutional (52.6), commercial / industrial (52.1)
- Project inquiries index: 58.6
- Design contracts index: 53.7