Further Contraction in Architecture Billings Index

December 2016

For the first time since the summer of 2012, the Architecture Billings Index posted consecutive months of a decline in demand for design services. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to 12 month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects reported the September ABI score was 48.4, down from the mark of 49.7 in the previous month. This score reflects a decrease in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 59.4, down from a reading of 61.8 the previous month.
Key September ABI highlights include the following:

  • Regional averages: South (53.4), Midwest (50.1), West (49.5), Northeast (44.0).
  • Sector index breakdown: commercial/industrial (50.4), mixed practice (49.8), institutional (49.0), multifamily residential (48.8).
  • Project inquiries index: 59.4.
  • Design contracts index: 51.4.