AIA’s latest Architecture Billings Index (ABI) indicates continued growth in the construction sector. The February ABI score was 54.9, a slight increase from 54.2 in January. The score indicates a jump in demand for design services, as any score above 50 reflects an increase in billings. The new projects inquiry index also experienced improvement with a 64.8 reading, outpacing the score of 63.2 from the previous month—and representing the highest mark since January 2007.
The three-month moving average of sector categories includes multi-family residential (60.9), mixed practice (56.9), commercial/industrial (53.3), and institutional (50.7). Broken down by region, quarterly scores are the highest in the Northeast at 56.7, followed by the Midwest and West tied at 54.7 and 52.7 in the South.
“Conditions have been strengthening in all regions and construction sectors for the last several months,” says Kermit Baker, AIA’s chief economist. “Still, we also continue to hear a mix of business conditions in the marketplace as this hesitant recovery continues to unfold.”
The ABI serves as an indicator of construction activity, reflecting the approximate nine-to-12-month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending.