ABI Climbs for Seventh Consecutive Month

September 21, 2017

With another strong showing in August, the Architectural Billings Index (ABI) has now climbed for seven consecutive months, reflecting continued growth in demand for design services.

The ABI, released each month by the American Institute of Architects, is a leading economic indicator of construction activity. It has been shown to foretell the approximate 9- to 12-month lead time between architectural billings and construction spending. Any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings.

August’s score of 53.7 marked an increase over July’s score of 51.9. The new projects inquiry index came in at 62.5, bettering July’s 59.5. Positive growth was reflected in the nation’s four geographical regions, as well.

By sector, all reflected increases in billings, with commercial/industrial leading the way at 57.6, up from July’s 55.4 sector reading. Institutional came in at 50.1 in August, slipping from July’s 52 sector reading, but reflecting billings growth nonetheless. And mixed practice scored a 52.5 August reading, up from its 48.4 July score.

Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD., AIA chief economist, said, “The August results continue a string of very positive readings from the design professions, pointing to future healthy growth across the major construction sectors, as well as across the major regions of the country. Given the focus and discussions around the infrastructure needs of the nation, we expect strong growth in design activity for the coming months and years.”