After four months of decline, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) showed modest gains. The ABI score was 50.4 in January, up from 48.5 in December. This score reflects an increase in design services, as any score above 50 indicates an increase in billing.
“There is enough optimism in the marketplace that business conditions should return to steady growth as the year progresses,” AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker said in a statement. “The suspension of the debt ceiling should ease some anxiety around projects for the federal government, at least for the time being. However, private sector spending should lead the construction upturn this year, which will depend more on employment growth and continued improvement in the overall economy."
The South brought in the highest regional score (53.5), followed by the West (51.1), Midwest (46.5), and Northeast (43.6). By sector, multi-family residential had the most growth at 51.8, followed by commercial/industrial at 50.9. The project inquires index was 58.5, down from a reading of 59.2 in December.