Economy Watch: Architects Still Fairly Busy in November

The AIA's Architecture Billings Index showed another small increase in demand for design services in November, which suggests a boost in future development activity.
Kermit Baker, AIA

Kermit Baker, AIA

Following a modest increase after two months of contraction, The American Institute of Architects’ Architecture Billings Index (ABI) turned in another small increase in demand for design services in November, the organization reported on Wednesday. The November ABI score was 50.6, not much down from 50.8 in the previous month. This score reflects an increase in design services, but only a slight one (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings).

The ABI is a leading economic indicator of construction activity, reflecting the roughly nine- to 12-month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending.

Survey participants are asked whether their billings increased, decreased or stayed the same in the month that just ended as compared to the prior month, and the results are then compiled into the ABI. The index scores are centered around 50, with scores above 50 indicating an aggregate increase in billings, and scores below 50 pointing to a decline.

Separately, the AIA’s new projects inquiry index was 59.5 in November, up from a reading of 55.4 the previous month, which also points to an increase in future architectural activity.

“Without many details of the policies proposed, it’s still too early to tell the likely impact of the programs of the new administration,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker. “However, architects will be among the first to see what new construction projects materialize and what current ones get delayed or cancelled.”

Image courtesy of AIA