Following increasing demand for design services for over two years, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) dipped into negative territory in March, according to a report from the American Institute of Architects (AIA).
The ABI score for March was 47.8, down from 50.3 in February. Indicators of work in the pipeline, including inquiries into new projects and the value of new design contracts remained positive.
“Though billings haven’t contracted in a while, it is important to note that it does follow on the heels of a particularly tough late winter period for much of the country,” says AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “Many indicators of future work at firms still remain positive, although the pace of growth of design contracts has slowed in recent months.“
Key ABI highlights for March include:
- Regional averages: South (54.2), Midwest (48.7), West (47.2), Northeast (43.5)
- Sector index breakdown: mixed practice (53.1), commercial/industrial (47), institutional (48.9), multi-family residential (47.7)
- Project inquiries index: 59.8
- Design contracts index: 50.8
The regional and sector categories are calculated as a 3-month moving average, whereas the national index, design contracts and inquiries are monthly numbers.