Strengthening to a score not seen since pre-Great Recession, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) logged its second positive mark since the beginning of the pandemic, according to a new report from the American Institute of Architects (AIA).
AIA’s ABI score for March rose to 55.6 compared to 53.3 in February (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). Scores for both new project inquiries and new design contracts strengthened to 66.9 and 55.7 respectively. March also marked the first time in three years all building sectors and regions posted positive scores.
“As business activity at architecture firms moves sharply toward recovery, it is very encouraging to simultaneously see such positive indicators of future project work increasing in the pipeline,” said AIA chief economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “The activity architecture firms are seeing is a positive bellwether not only for the construction outlook, but also for the larger economy.”
Key ABI highlights for March include:
- regional averages are 56.5 for the Midwest, 55.8 for the South, 52.8 for the West, 50.8 for the Northeast;
- sector index breakdown are 57 for commercial/industrial, 54.9 for mixed practice, 54.5 for institutional, 52.6 for multi-family residential;
- project inquiries index is 66.9; and
- design contracts index is 55.7.