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Architecture Billings Index in U.S. Remains Flat in July

Decline in new design contracts suggests volatility in design activity to persist

According to a new report released today from The American Institute of Architects, U.S. demand for design services in July 2019 remained essentially flat in comparison to the previous month.

AIA’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score of 50.1 in July showed a small increase in design services since June 2019, which was a score of 49.1. Any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings.

In July, the design contracts score dipped into negative territory for the first time in almost a year. Additionally, July billings softened in all regions except the West, and at firms of all specializations except multifamily residential.

“The data is not the same as what we saw leading up to the last economic downturn but the continued, slowing across the board will undoubtedly impact architecture firms and the broader construction industry in the coming months,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “A growing number of architecture firms are reporting that the ongoing volatility in the trade situation, the stock market, and interest rates are causing some of their clients to proceed more cautiously on current projects.”

Key ABI highlights for July 2019 include:

  • Regional averages: West (51.2); Midwest (48.9); South (48.3); Northeast (48.3)
  • Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (50.6); institutional (49.8); commercial/industrial (49.2); mixed practice (48.9)
  • Project inquiries index: 54.9
  • Design contracts index: 49.0
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