09.20.2023

AIA/Deltek Architecture Billings Index Sees Softening Business Conditions in August

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ABI 2023

WASHINGTON – September 20, 2023 – The AIA/Deltek Architecture Billings Index (ABI) eased modestly in August, with a score of 48.1, marking the eleventh consecutive month of essentially flat billings at architecture firms. Any score below 50.0 indicates decreasing business conditions. This follows a period of robust growth in 2021 and 2022. While inquiries into new projects remained relatively strong in August, the value of newly signed design contracts declined for the first time since April, indicating that fewer clients signed contracts for new projects than in the prior three months.

“Business conditions at architecture firms continue to be sluggish,” said Kermit Baker, PhD, AIA Chief Economist. “New project work coming into architecture firms as well ongoing project activity remain stalled in a relatively narrow range and exhibit very little month-to-month variation. Through this pause has taken pressure off tight staffing conditions across the profession, there is considerable uncertainty over the direction of future activity.”

Business conditions also remained soft at firms with a multifamily residential specialization and declined modestly at firms with an institutional specialization. However, firms with a commercial/industrial specialization reported billings growth for the third month in a row in August.

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 August include:

  • Regional averages: Northeast (50.6); South (49.9); Midwest (48.1); West (45.8)
  • Sector index breakdown: commercial/industrial (51.5); institutional (49.4); mixed practice (firms that do not have at least half of their billings in any one other category) (46.9); multifamily residential (44.1)
  • Project inquiries index: 54.8
  • Design contracts index: 47.9

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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