Architectural Billing Index Slips in January

February 26, 2016

The Architecture Billings Index (ABI), an indicator of U.S. non-residential building activity, kicked off 2016 by dipping slightly into negative territory.

In reflecting the approximate nine-to-twelve-month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending, the ABI is considered a leading economic indicator of construction activity. It is released monthly by the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

The January ABI score of 49.6 slipped down from January’s 51.3. This score reflects a minor decrease in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 55.3, down from a reading of 60.5 the previous month. Regional averages were as follows: West (50.8), Northeast (50.4), South (50.3), Midwest (48.9).

According to AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD., “The fundamentals are mostly sound in the nonresidential design and construction market. January was a rocky month throughout the economy, with falling oil prices, international economic concerns, and with steep declines in stock market valuations in the U.S. and elsewhere. Some of the fallout of this uncertainty may have affected progress on design projects.”