AIA’s monthly Architecture Billings Index (ABI) for August came in at a score of 47.2. This is a 2.9-point decrease from July’s score of 50.1, a markedly downward swing. 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 represents an increase in billings from the previous month, while a score below 50 represents a contraction.
“The sizeable drop in both design billings and new project activity, coming on the heels of six months of disappointing growth in billings, suggests that the design expansion that began in mid-2012 is beginning to face headwinds,” said AIA chief economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, in a press release. “Currently, the weakness is centered at firms specializing in commercial/industrial facilities as well as those located in the Midwest. However, there are fewer pockets of strength in design activity now, either by building sector or region than there have been in recent years.” In August, design contracts posted a score of 47.2, a 1.8-point decrease from July’s already-contracting score of 49.
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