03.20.2024

AIA/Deltek ABI Reports Moderation in the Slowdown in Business Conditions at Architecture Firms in February

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ABI 2023

The Midwest as a region is still reporting billings growth.

Architecture firm billings continued to decline in February, with an AIA/Deltek Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score of 49.5 for the month. However, February’s score marks the most modest easing in billings since July 2023 and suggests that the recent slowdown may be receding.

“There are indicators this month that business conditions at firms may finally begin to pick up in the coming months. Inquiries into new projects grew at their fastest pace since November, and the value of newly signed design contracts increased at their fastest pace since last summer,” said Kermit Baker, PhD, AIA Chief Economist. “Given the moderation of inflation for construction costs and prospects for lower interest rates in the coming months, there are positive signs for future growth.”

The Midwest as a region is still reporting billings growth, despite business conditions remaining weak across the country in February. Firms located in the Midwest reported growth for the last three months, and for four of the last five months.

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 February include:

  • Regional averages: Northeast (44.0); Midwest (50.8); South (47.7); West (47.2)
  • Sector index breakdown: commercial/industrial (46.1); institutional (50.7); mixed practice (firms that do not have at least half of their billings in any one other category) (47.1); multifamily residential (44.9)
  • Project inquiries index: 56.0
  • Design contracts index: 51.1

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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