Architectural Billings Index Ends 2016 On High Note

January 23, 2017

The Architectural Billings Index bid a sweet farewell to 2016, with December’s 55.9 reading showing a sharp increase from November’s 50.6 and reflecting a third consecutive month of growth in design billings.

Since design services typically lead to new projects, the ABI is an indicator of future construction spending. Although all scores above 50 indicate an increase in billings, December’s 55.9 reading was 2016’s highest overall score.

“The sharp upturn in design activity as we wind down the year is certainly encouraging. This bodes well for the design and construction sector as we enter the new year”,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “However, December is an atypical month for interpreting trends, so the coming months will tell us a lot more about conditions that the industry is likely to see in 2017.”

By sector, commercial/industrial design services had the highest score at 54.3, followed by institutional at 53.3, mixed-practice at 51.9 and multifamily residential at 50.6. December’s new projects inquiry index was 57.2, down from a reading of 59.5 the previous month.