Architecture Billings Bounce Back in May

After several months of contraction, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) is reporting an increase in demand for design services. The May ABI rose three points from April to 52.6, reflecting a jump in design activity. New project inquiries also rose to 63.2, up from 59.1 the previous month. The score for design contracts, ABI's newest indicator signaling the direction of future architecture billings, was 52.5 in May.

"Volatility continues to be the watchword in the design and construction markets, with firms in some regions of the country, and serving some sectors of the industry, reporting strong growth, while others are indicating continued weakness," AIA chief economist Kermit Baker said in a statement. "However, overall, it appears that activity has recovered from the winter slump, and design professions should see more positive than negative numbers in the coming months."

The commercial/industrial sector posted a positive reading of 53.6, with mixed practice coming in at 50.4. Institutional projects had the lowest sector score with 47.3. The South led all regions at 58.1, followed by the Midwest (51.3), Northeast (47.6), and West (46.9).