The Architecture Billings Index (ABI), a leading indicator of commercial construction, dropped more than three points in November despite gains in previous months, according to the American Institute of Architects' Economics & Market Research Group.
The ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the November ABI rating was 42.8, down from 46.1 in October. This score indicates a continued decline in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry score was 58.5, the same mark as in October. Its lowest recent reading was 33.3 in January.
“There continues to be a lot of uncertainty in the construction industry that likely will delay new projects in the near future,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “Perhaps the President’s plan calling for loans for small business, funding for infrastructure projects and rebates for homeowners making energy efficient improvements will help speed a recovery in the construction industry.”
Regional averages: South (46.4), Northeast (45.0), Midwest (43.7), West (41.1)
Sector index breakdown: institutional (47.0), multi-family residential (45.8), mixed practice (42.8), commercial / industrial (40.7)
Project inquiries index: 58.5
The ABI began in 1995, and is considered a measure of construction spending nine to 12 months in the future.