After five months of positive readings, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has fallen into negative territory, according to the Washington, D.C.-based American Institute of Architects. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine- to 12-month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. AIA reported the April ABI score was 48.4, down from a mark of 50.4 in March, reflecting a decrease in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 54.4, down from mark of 56.6 the previous month.
“Considering the continued volatility in the overall economy, this decline in demand for design services isn't terribly surprising,” says AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Ph.D., Hon. AIA. “Also, favorable conditions during the winter months may have accelerated design billings, producing a pause in projects that have moved ahead faster than expected.”
Regional averages were 51.0 for the Northeast, 50.1 for the Midwest, 49.0 for the South and 48.0 for the West. By sector, commercial/industrial was 53.8, multi-family residential was 50.5, institutional was 46.6 and mixed practices was 45.0. The project inquiries index was 54.4.
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