The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) jumped more than a full point last month, indicating acceleration in the growth of design activity nationally. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine- to 12-month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the July ABI score was 52.7, up from a mark of 51.6 in June. This score reflects an increase in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 66.7, up dramatically from the reading of 62.6 the previous month.
Key July ABI highlights include:
- Regional averages: Northeast (54.3), South (54.2), West (51.1), Midwest (50.8)
- Sector index breakdown: mixed practice (56.9), commercial/industrial (54.2), multi-family residential (53.3), institutional (50.6)
- Project inquiries index: 66.4
The regional and sector categories are calculated as a three-month moving average, whereas the index and inquiries are monthly numbers.