After Some Encouraging Signs, Architecture Billings Index Drops Substantially

Following its highest mark since August 2008, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) dropped more than three points in November. The ABI reflects the approximate nine to 12 month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the November ABI rating was 42.8, down from 46.1 in October. The reports says this score indicates a continued decline in demand for design services. The new projects inquiry score was 58.5, the same mark as in October.

“There continues to be a lot of uncertainty in the construction industry that likely will delay new projects in the near future,” says AIA chief economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “Perhaps the President’s plan calling for loans for small business, funding for infrastructure projects and rebates for homeowners making energy-efficient improvements will help speed a recovery in the construction industry.”

Key November ABI highlights:

· Regional averages: South (46.4), Northeast (45.0), Midwest (43.7), West (41.1);

· Sector index breakdown: institutional (47.0), multi-family residential (45.8), mixed practice (42.8), commercial/industrial (40.7);

· Project inquiries index: 58.5.