The AIA’s monthly Architecture Billings Index (ABI) came in at a score of 54.2 in August, marking the 11th consecutive month of gains. The ABI is a leading economic indicator of construction activity in the U.S., and reflects a nine- to 12-month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending nationally, regionally, and by project type. A score above 50, as seen in August, represents an increase in billings from the previous month, while a score below 50 represents a contraction.

August’s score is 3.5 points higher than July’s reading of 50.7, indicating that business continues to trend upward despite labor shortages and cost inflation of building materials.

“Billings at architecture firms in the South continue to lead the healthy increase in design activity that we’ve seen across the profession in recent months,” said AIA chief economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, in a press release. “Nationally, growth across all building sectors remains solidly positive.”