The AIA’s monthly Architecture Billings Index (ABI) came in at a score of 52.9 in December, indicating that demand for design services continued to grow in the last month of 2017. 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 this month, represents an increase in billings from the previous month, while a score below 50 represents a contraction.

Healthy demand for design services continued in December, with national billings reaching a score of 52.9. This reading is 2.1 points lower than November’s score of 55.0, which marked the highest demand seen in 2017. New project inquiries—considered to be the most reliable indicator of future billings—increased 0.8 points in December to a score of 61.9, indicating that billings will likely continue to rise in January.