The month of January is supposed to be the time of year when we put our best foot forward and onto a treadmill. “New Year, New Me,” we tell ourselves as we pretend to train for that marathon and convince ourselves that fruit is somehow an appropriate substitute for dessert. (It's not and you know that.) With all of this in mind, we expected some best-foot-forward kind of numbers from the January Architecture Billings Index (ABI). But, no folks, it turns out that the ABI not only lost momentum from last year, it plunged into negative territory. Well, to be fair, it didn’t really plunge into negative territory so much as it dipped a toe into it, posting a score of 49.9, down from 52.7 in December. Since any score above a 50 indicates an increase in billings, 49.9 is not the end of the world. By region, the South (54.8), West (49.3), and Midwest (50.8) all kept things positive, but the Northeast only managed a 46.0. Something similar played out by sector, with three of the four categories posting gains. Multi-family residential (51.4), institutional (53.0), and commercial/industrial (50.9), were all above 50, but then mixed practice went and ruined everything with a 46.9. The new projects inquiry index also had a sluggish start to the year, posting a 58.7 in January, down from 59.1 in December. The design contracts index meanwhile was recorded at 51.3. All things considered, AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker remained calm. “This easing in demand for design services is a bit of a surprise given the overall strength of the market over the past nine months,” he said in a statement. “Likely some of this can be attributed to severe weather conditions in January. We will have a better sense if there is a reason for more serious concern over the next couple of months.”
Posts tagged with "Architecture Billings Index":
Back in November, we told you how Taylor Swift’s hit song “Shake It off” perfectly summed up how we should feel about the Architecture Billings Index’s disappointing showing from the month before. Sure, the ABI’s momentum had slowed to 55.2 in October, but since any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings, we could just shake off any negativity. Now with 2014 gone, how did the Index shape up through the end of the year? To the numerous naysayers who wrote in saying we couldn't fit another Taylor Swift reference into our coverage of architecture billings data, watch this: As you may already know, we dropped the ball in December and did not post the freshest ABI data, creating what the superstar would call a “Blank Space.” Are we taking this Taylor Swift connection too far? Probably, so let’s move right to the numbers because we have a lot of catching up to do. In December, the ABI was recorded at 52.2, that's up from the 50.9 in November. The project inquiry index, unfortunately, did not have as good of a time—dropping from 58.8 to 58.2. But that dip was nothing compared to the design contracts index which fell from 54.9 to 49.9. By region, the Southwest and West performed best posting 56.8 and 52.9, respectively. The Midwest just managed to stay in positive territory at 50.8 while the Northeast slipped below the line to 45.5. And by sector, it was multi-family residential (55.7) followed by institutional (52.5) and then commercial / industrial (51.2). Meanwhile, mixed-practice was all the way down at 45.8. “Business conditions continue to be the strongest at architecture firms in the South and the Western regions,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, in a statement. “Particularly encouraging is the continued solid upturn in design activity at institutional firms, since public sector facilities were the last nonresidential building project type to recover from the downturn.” Overall, 2014 was a good year for the ABI with 10 out of 12 months showing increasing demand for design services. It was also a very good year for Taylor Swift.
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.
The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) report is back and it’s ready to party so drop that Monday morning cup of coffee and take a sip of the hot data the AIA is serving up. Last month, while we were all just going about our everyday lives, the ABI was soaring to new heights. Any score above a 50 indicates an increase in billings, but the ABI wasn’t satisfied with playing it safe. No, it went all the way to 55.2. Sure, it’s not the 55.8 that got the world talking in July, but it’s still good news and better than August’s 53.0, am I right? There's more. The New Projects Inquiry, presumably not wanting to be upstaged by the big kid on campus, did some work of its own and leaped from 62.6 to 64.8. As for the Design Contracts Index, it ticked down from 56.9 to 56.8. Get better soon, Design Contracts Index. We’re pulling for you. “Strong demand for apartment buildings and condominiums has been one of the main drivers in helping to keep the design and construction market afloat in recent years,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker in a statement. “There continues to be a healthy market for those types of design projects, but the recently resurgent Institutional sector is leading to broader growth for the entire construction industry.” So how did it all shake out? By region the South performed best with a 55.3 followed by the Midwest at 55.1. The West kept it cool with a 54.2, and the Northeast plunged but played it safe at 51.0. Over on the sector side of things, multi-family residential had the strongest month with a 55.3. Institutional wasn’t too far behind at 54.9 and was followed by mixed practice at 53.8. Industrial kept us on the edge of our seats with a nail-bitingly close 50.8. Before we leave you today, let’s just check in on the Projects Inquiry Index. Last time was at 62.6. Where did things stand one month later? 64.8.
As the summer turns to fall, it’s easy to look back and remember the season that was. There was that outdoor concert, that weekend trip to Montreal, that margarita served in a mason jar, and that time you and your neighbor Karl tried to repave the deck. Hey there, chin up, no need to get so nostalgic just yet, that's what the winter is for. There is one last way to relive that glorious summer right now. How? Through the Architecture Billings Index (ABI), of course. With the newly-released August-time data it's like the Autumnal Equinox never even happened at all. Lather up the sunscreen and throw on those shades because here we go! In August, the ABI posted a 53.0, which is down from July’s 55.8, but it's not all bad news, because, say it with us, “any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings.” Exactly, very good. A similar story played out with the new projects inquiry index; it dropped from 66.0 in July to 62.6. No reason to get all bent out of shape, things are still looking up. For one, design contracts jumped from 54.9 to 56.9 in August. “One of the key triggers for accelerating growth at architecture firms is that long-stalled construction projects are starting to come back to life in many areas across the country,” AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker said in a statement. “Long awaited access to credit from lending institutions and an increasing comfort level in the overall economy has helped revitalize the commercial real estate sector in recent months. Additionally, though, a crucial component to a broader industry-wide recovery is the emerging demand for new projects such as education facilities, government buildings and, in some cases, hospitals.” Let’s dig into the numbers even further, shall we? By region, the Northeast led the pack at 58.1, followed by the South at 55.1, and then the West at 52.5. The Midwest squeaked over the positive line at 51.0. By sector, multi-family residential pulled a Northeast and posted a 58.1. Mixed practice wasn’t far behind at 57.1, followed by institutional at 54.0. Industrial really played it close in August posting a 50.4. Living on the edge now are we, Industrial?
You should probably be sitting down for this because there is some big news regarding the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) that is not for the faint of heart. With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s proceed. So everyone knows that the ABI has really been flexing its muscle this summer—it posted a 52.6 in May and then a 53.5 in June. Those are pretty solid scores given that anything above a 50 indicates an increase in billings, but then July happened—and it happened in a big way. Last month, the ABI posted a 55.8. That's important news considering the index hasn't been that high since 2007—since before the whole global financial meltdown. What truly makes this news so special is that everyone played a part. By region, the Northeast won the gold with a score of 55.5, the South took silver with a strong 55.1, and the Midwest got the bronze at 54.1. While the West didn't take home a medal, it still scored in the positive territory with a 53.5. So, if you think about it, they are all winners. The same can be said for each sector. Mixed practice really blew things out of the water with a score of 61.0, multi-family residential wasn't too far back at 56.5, institutional posted a respectable 53.3, and commercial/industrial landed in positive territory at 51.2.How about the design contracts index? How did that do? Well, how does a 54.9 sound to you? Pretty good, right? And the new project inquiries index? Well, have you ever heard of a 66.0? And that’s not all! The forecast looks good too. “Business conditions for the design and construction marketplace, and those industries associated with it, appear to be well-positioned for continued growth in the coming months,” AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, said in a statement. “The key to a more widespread boost in design activity continues to be the institutional sector which is starting to exhibit signs of life after languishing for the better part of the last five-plus years.” Let’s finish things off here today with just a little more data. The American Society of Interior Designers recently announced that in June the Interior Design Billings Index (IDBI) scored a 55.8 and the Inquiries Index went even higher to 58.2. Sure, that’s obviously down from May, but still positive, still positive.
Yes, the rumors are true—the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) is in positive territory for the second straight month. That's right, the second straight month. After the ABI posted a solid 52.6 in May there was no telling what could happen next. Would it go up? Would it go down? Would it maybe even stay the same? It was anyone's guess. Today, those questions were answered and what we got was even more good news. In June, the ABI posting jumped to 53.5 in June. And that's not all, folks. The new projects inquiry index did some climbing of its own—moving from 63.2 to 66.4. So what’s to account for this blockbuster summer? “The recent surge in both design contracts and general inquiries for new projects by prospective clients is indicative of a sustainable strengthening across the construction marketplace,” AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, said in a statement. “With the first positive reading since last summer in billings at institutional firms, it appears that design activity for all major segments of the building industry is growing. The challenge now for architecture firms seems to be finding the right balance for staffing needs to meet increasing demand.” To the data! By region, the Midwest led the pack with a score of 56.3 followed by the South (53.9) and the Northeast (51.1), and the West (48.7). Any score above 50 signifies an increase in billings, but you know that by now. By sector, multi-family residential (57.7) and mixed-use practice (53.8) had the best month. They edged ahead of commercial/industrial (53.1), and institutional, which eeked a positive score of 50.2. All good news. The design contracts index, the new metric on the block, was also in positive territory at 55.7. See you here same time next month.
And there it is, after months in negative territory the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) jumped into positive territory in May with a score 52.6—that’s up from 49.6 in April. Any score over 50 signals an increase in billings. The new projects inquiry also jumped from 59.1 to 63.2. Rounding out the positive news is the AIA’s new design contracts indicator, which posted a 52.5. Nice job by all. By region, the strongest gains were in the South (58.1) and the Midwest (51.3). The Northeast (47.6) and West (46.9) had a rougher month. And by sector, the breakouts were multi-family residential (58.2), commercial/industrial (53.6), and mixed practice (50.4). Institutional was one the other side of the ledger with a 47.3. “Volatility continues to be the watchword in the design and construction markets, with firms in some regions of the country, and serving some sectors of the industry, reporting strong growth, while others are indicating continued weakness,” AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker said in a statement. “However, overall, it appears that activity has recovered from the winter slump, and design professions should see more positive than negative numbers in the coming months.” In other data news, the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) released a statistical report this week that found the "median age of people at initial licensure is the lowest in 10 years." Essentially, architects are getting licensed earlier in life—the median age for licensure is currently 34. The board also found "an increase since 2011 in the number of women applying for NCARB Records. The percentage of women applying continues to hold around 40 percent—a marked increase from 10 percent in the early 1990s.
The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) remains in negative territory for the second straight month. While the April index ticked up to 49.6, from 48.8 last month, it was not enough to break 50, which signals an increase in design services. The new projects inquiry, however, increased from 57.9 to 59.1. The overall decrease was caused by disappointing numbers posted in the West (48.9), Midwest (47.0), and especially in the Northeast (42.9). While those regions came up short, the South showed signs of life with a score of 57.5 By sector, multi-family residential (52.6), commercial/industrial (50.2), and mixed practice (50.7) all saw gains, while institutional (47.1) could not break 50. The AIA’s latest metric introduced last month, the design contracts index, recorded a steep increase to 54.6. “Despite an easing in demand for architecture services over the last couple of months, there is a pervading sense of optimism that business conditions are poised to improve as the year moves on,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker. “With a healthy figure for design contracts this should translate into improved billings in the near future.”
After starting the year on a positive trend, the Architectural Billings Index ticked down last month. The March ABI score dropped sharply from February’s score of 50.7 to 48.8. This moves the index into negative territory as any score below 50 signifies a decrease in design services. The new projects inquiry, though, did tick up from 56.8 to 57.9. The sharpest declines were in the Northeast and Midwest, which posted scores of 46.8 and 46.6, respectively. The South (52.8) and West (50.7) both remained in positive territory. By sector, multi-family residential was the only positive marker at 52.1, while commercial/industrial (49.6), institutional (49.0), and mixed practice (47.6) dipped below 50. “This protracted softening in demand for design services is a bit of a surprise given the overall strength of the market the last year and a half,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker. “Hopefully, some of this can be attributed to severe weather conditions over this past winter. We will have a better sense if there is a reason for more serious concern over the next couple of months.” The AIA has also announced a new metric to measure design contracts. According to the AIA, this will be a less subjective way to estimate future billings activities at architecture firms. “We determined that the most accurate predictor of future design workloads is the monthly change in the volume of new design contracts.” said Baker. In its inaugural measurement, the Design Contracts Index posted 48.2 in March.
After the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) posted positive gains in January, the question everyone was asking was, "What comes next?" Today, the AIA's monthly report answered that question with a bit more good news. The ABI was measured at 50.7 in February, which is up slightly from a January score of 50.4. So, how did this happen? The change was due to strong numbers posted in the South (52.8) and the West (50.5). But dragging the group down, the Northeast and Midwest both scored below 50 with scores of 48.3 and 47.6, respectively (any score below 50 indicates a decline). By sector, multi-family residential had the best month at 52.5, followed by commercial/industrial (51.9), institutional (49.6), and mixed practice (46.6). While the ABI saw a slight gain overall, the new projects inquiry index, dropped from 58.5 to 56.8. These postings, though, were likely negatively impacted by February's severe weather. “The unusually severe weather conditions in many parts of the country have obviously held back both design and construction activity,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker in a statement. “The March and April readings will likely be a better indication of the underlying health of the design and construction markets. We are hearing reports of projects that had been previously shelved for extended periods of time coming back online as the economy improves.”
After months of slowed growth at the end of last year, the Architecture Billing Index ticked up slightly in January. The ABI score was measured at 50.4, up from 48.5 in December—and that’s good news because any score above 50 means positive growth. The positive number was largely due to growth in the South (53.5) and the West (51.1). The ABI dipped below 50 in both the Midwest and Northeast, with scores of 46.5 and 43.6, respectively. By sector, multi-family residential (51.8) and commercial/industrial (50.9) showed the strongest growth, while mixed practice (48.4) and institutional (46.5) both failed to post gains. And while January’s overall ABI was above 50, the new projects inquiry index dropped slightly from 59.2 to 58.5. Overall, January was a pretty good month. “There is enough optimism in the marketplace that business conditions should return to steady growth as the year progresses,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker in a statement.