Architectural Billings Decline Again in April

The American Institute of architects (AIA) has reported a drop in design services over the last two months. The Architectural Billings Index (ABI) score for April was 49.6, slightly higher than March's reading of 48.8. Any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings.

Last month, the AIA added a new indicator measuring the trends in design contracts at architecture firms. The mark signals the direction of future architecture billings. The score for design contracts in April was 54.6.  In another sign of confidence, the new projects inquiry index was 59.1, up from 57.9 the previous month.

"Despite an easing in demand for architecture services over the last couple of months, there is a pervading sense of optimism that business conditions are poised to improve as the year moves on," AIA chief economist Kermit Baker said in a statement. "With a healthy figure for design contracts, this should translate into improved billings in the near future."

The South reported the highest score of all regions with 57.5, followed by the West (48.9), Midwest (47.0), and Northeast (42.9). With a rating of 52.6, multi-family residential led the way across sectors at 52.6. Commercial/industrial came in at 50.2, while mixed practice was slightly higher with a reading of 50.7. The institutional index score was 47.1.