Business Conditions Remain Soft at Architecture Firms According to AIA/Deltek Architecture Billings Index

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ABI 2023

Firms are increasingly concerned about managing the costs of running their firm in 2024

WASHINGTON – December 20, 2023 – The AIA/Deltek Architecture Billings Index (ABI) remained below 50 for the fourth consecutive month. The score of 45.3 increased by one point from October, indicating slightly fewer firms reporting a decline in billings. Any score below 50.0 indicates decreasing business conditions but there are encouraging signs in the pipeline.

“This marks the seventh month in 2023 with a decline in billings. Over the past three months in this pace of decline has accelerated, with firms in all specializations and in all regions of the country reporting weakening business conditions,” said Kermit Baker, Ph.D, AIA Chief Economist. “However, with signs that credit conditions are beginning to ease, firms are reporting an uptick in inquiries for future projects.”

Firms in all regions reported a decline in billings, with business conditions remaining softest at firms located in the West as the region’s billings hit a low for the year. Firms specializing in multi-family residential continue to remain the weakest and business conditions declined further at firms with institutional specialization, despite being the strongest to start 2023.

The ABI score is a leading economic indicator of construction activity, providing the 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 November include:

  • Regional averages: Northeast (44.4); Midwest (49.0); South (46.7); West (39.5)
  • Sector index breakdown: commercial/industrial (45.7); institutional (46.6); mixed practice (firms that do not have at least half of their billings in any one other category) (42.7); multifamily residential (42.1)
  • Project inquires index: 56.9
  • Design contracts index: 48.1

The regional 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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