Architecture Billings Index downturn moderates as challenging conditions continue

WASHINGTON – Oct. 23, 2019 – While architecture billings moderated in September, design activity shows signs of remaining sluggish at U.S. architecture firms, according to a new report released today from the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score in September is 49.7, which improved from the August score of 47.2. However, any score below 50 indicates a decrease in billings. During September, both the new project inquiries and design contracts scores were positive, posting scores of 59.0 and 54.4 respectively.  

“Though still in negative territory, the moderating billings score along with the rebound in design contracts and inquiries serve as a continued note of caution for the industry,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “Continued weakness in the larger economy still doesn’t bode well for future design services, which will likely see continued volatility in the months ahead.”

Key ABI highlights for September include:

  • Regional averages: South (52.3); West (51.3); Northeast (46.3); Midwest (45.3)
  • Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (53.2); mixed practice (53.0); institutional (48.5); commercial/industrial (45.3)
  • Project inquiries index: 59.0
  • Design contracts index: 54.4

The regional and sector categories are calculated as a three-month moving average, whereas the national index, design contracts and inquiries are monthly numbers.

About AIA

Founded in 1857, AIA consistently works to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through more than 200 international, state and local chapters, AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public wellbeing.

AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation, and world. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards.

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