March ABI Closes Q1 of 2017 on a Positive Note

The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) reveals a positive close to the first quarter of 2017. The March ABI was reported at 54.3, a sizable leap from February’s score of 50.7. A leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine- to twelve-month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending.

“The first quarter started out on uneasy footing, but fortunately ended on an upswing entering the traditionally busy spring season,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA. “All sectors showed growth except for the commercial/industrial market, which, for the first time in over a year displayed a decrease in design services.”

The new projects inquiry index fell slightly from 61.5 in February to 59.8 last month, while new design contracts also took a hit into lower positive territory with a score of 52.3. Regional averages all showed positive scores as did the sector index breakdown, with the exception of the commercial/industrial sector.