Wednesday, June 24, 2009

ABI sees inquiries for new projects rise, but no overall improvement

Even though the decline is design services billings has stabilized, the American Institute of Architects' Architecture Billings Index also indicates that any economic recovery has also flat-lined.

The AIA reported this morning that the May ABI rating was 42.9, nearly identical to the 42.8 mark in April. This score indicates a continued overall decline in demand for design services as any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings.

However, one bright spot for the architecture industry is the new projects inquiry score of 55.2, the third straight month with a score in the mid-50s.

"The design and construction marketplace is extremely competitive right now," said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker. "Prospective clients are casting a wider net, causing numerous firms to bid for the same project, which is why the high level of inquiries is not necessarily translating into additional billings for project work at many firms."

The May ABI breaks down by sector as follows: multi-family residential (45.5, up from 43.2 in April, 39.4 in March, 33.3 in February, and 29.5 in January); mixed practice (44.5, up from 44.2 in April and 44.0 in March); commercial/industrial (43.1, up from 41.7 in April, 35.0 in March, and 32.0 in February); and institutional (38.0, down from 43.2 in April).

Regionally, the ABI breaks down thusly: Northeast (48.3, up from 47.1 in April, 41.8 in March, 32.3 in February, and 29.8 in January), Midwest (41.5, up from 40.1 in April, 37.5 in March, and 35.0 in February), South (41.3, down from 45.0 in April), and West (39.4, up from 39.2 in April and 36.1 in March).


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