Still Showing Weakness, Architecture Billings Index Increases Slightly

Following a two-month soft patch, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported that the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) rose almost two full points in July. The AIA said the July ABI score was 47.9, up from a reading of 46.0 the previous month, reflecting a continued decline in demand for design services. The new projects inquiry index dropped substantially from 57.7 to 53.1.

“Business conditions at design firms remain quite volatile,” said AIA chief economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “While this recent uptick is encouraging, this state of the industry is likely to persist for a while as we continue to receive a mixed bag of feedback on the condition of the design market from improving to flat to being paralyzed by uncertainty.”

Key July ABI highlights:

• Regional averages: South (47.9), Northeast (47.2), Midwest (46.7), West (45.2);

• Sector index breakdown: commercial/industrial (50.4), institutional (47.9), multi-family residential (47.5), mixed practice (42.9); and

• Project inquiries index: 53.1