Architecture Firm Billings Soften Further in March According to AIA/Deltek ABI

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ABI 2023

The Midwest shows it’s first sign of decline.

WASHINGTON – April 24, 2024 – The AIA/Deltek Architecture Billings Index (ABI) reported a score of 43.6 for the month of March, indicating business conditions continue to soften for architecture firms. This marks the 14th consecutive month of declining billings at firms as inflation, supply chain issues and other economic challenges continue to affect business.

“Elevated construction costs coupled with prolonged high interest rates continue to discourage new project activity,” said Kermit Baker, PhD, AIA Chief Economist. “However, institutional design work seems to have stabilized, providing a solid base for the profession as it awaits a more positive economic environment for construction.”

All regions of the country reported a decline in billings, with business conditions looking the softest this month at firms in the Midwest and the South. While there was a decline in billings for firms of all specializations, billings declined at a faster pace for firms with a commercial/industrial specialization.

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.

Key ABI highlights for March include:

  • Regional averages: Northeast (46.0); Midwest (45.2); South (45.3); West (47.6)
  • Sector index breakdown: commercial/industrial (42.9); institutional (49.9); mixed practice (firms that do not have at least half of their billings in any one other category) (48.3); multifamily residential (44.2)
  • Project inquiries index: 54.9
  • Design contracts index: 50.0

An index score of 50 represents no change in firm billings from the previous month, a score above 50 indicates an increase in firm billings from the previous month, and a score below 50 indicates a decline in firm billings from the previous month.

The regional and sector categories are calculated as three-month moving averages and may not always average out to the national score.

Visit AIA’s website for detailed information about this, and past billing index reports.

About AIA
Founded in 1857, AIA consistently works to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through more than 200 international, state, and local chapters, AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public well-being.
AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation, and world. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards.

About Deltek
Better software means better projects. Deltek is the leading global provider of enterprise software and information solutions for project-based businesses and the home of AIA MasterSpec®. More than 30,000 organizations, including 12,000 Architecture & Engineering firms, rely on Deltek for superior levels of project intelligence, management, and collaboration. Our industry-focused expertise powers project success for A&E firms of all sizes by helping them achieve performance that maximizes productivity and revenue. Learn more at Deltek.

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