AIA/Deltek Architecture Billings Index Reports Continuing Decline

The AIA/Deltek Architecture Billings Index (ABI) reports that business conditions at architecture firms continued to soften in October. For the third consecutive month, the ABI score was under 50, indicating that a significant share of firms is seeing a decline in billings. 

“This report indicates not only a decrease in billings at firms, but also a reduction in the number of clients exploring and committing to new projects, which could potentially impact future billings. The soft conditions were evident across the entire country as well as across all major nonresidential building sectors,” said Kermit Baker, PhD, AIA Chief Economist.

The score of 44.3 for October dipped slightly below the score of 44.8 in September. Billings were universally soft across the entire country in October, with firms located in the West and Northeast continuing to report the softest conditions overall for the second month in a row. 

Key ABI highlights for October include:

  • Regional averages: Northeast (42.1); South (48.5); Midwest (48.9); West (40.0)
  •  Sector index breakdown: commercial/industrial (43.7); institutional (49.1); mixed practice (firms that do not have at least half of their billings in any one other category) (44.0); multifamily residential (40.1)
  • Project inquiries index: 48.8
  • Design contracts index: 46.5

The ABI score is a leading economic indicator of construction activity, providing an approximately nine-to-twelve-month glimpse into the future of nonresidential construction spending activity. The score is derived from a monthly survey of architecture firms that measures the change in the billings from the previous month.

The regional and sector categories are calculated as three-month moving averages and may not always average out to the national score.

Visit AIA’s website for detailed information about this, and past billing index reports.