Architecture Billings Essentially Flat in December at 45.4

Washington, DC, January 24, 2024-The December Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score of 45.4 remained essentially flat from November, according to AIA/Deltek. Any score below 50.0 indicates decreasing business conditions but there are encouraging signs of the pipeline.  

“Billings at firms declined for eight months of the year, and the last four months saw this overall weakness accelerate,” said Kermit Baker, PhD, AIA chief economist. " Fortunately, project backlogs at firms eased only slightly through the year despite the overall reported softness in billings.”  

Firm billings declined at firms in all regions of the country except the Midwest in December, where billings were essentially flat. Business conditions were also weak for most of the year at firms of all specializations, with firms with a multifamily residential specialization experiencing a particularly challenging year. 

In addition, most firms report that over the past six months at least some of their projects have been significantly delayed, put on hold, or even cancelled. On average, almost 30% of projects on a dollar basis have fallen into one of these categories.

The ABI score is a leading economic indicator of construction activity, providing an approximately nine-to-twelve-month glimpse into the future of nonresidential construction spending activity. The score is derived from a monthly survey of architecture firms that measures the change in the number of services provided to clients.

Regional averages were as follows: Northeast (45.9); Midwest (50.3); South (43.4); West (45.3)

Sector index breakdown: commercial/industrial (46.4); institutional (46.5); mixed practice (firms that do not have at least half of their billings in any one other category) (42.3); multifamily residential (45.8).

The project inquiries index was 53.1, and the design contracts index was 50.0.

Related Topics:The American Institute of Architects