The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reports a slight decline in architectural billings in August 2023, signaling sluggish business conditions throughout the construction market. This impacts the amount of work available for glass and glazing companies. AIA officials say the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) declined to 48.1 in August, following a 50.0 reading in July. Any score below 50.0 indicates decreasing business conditions.
The ABI score is a leading economic indicator of construction activity, providing an approximately nine- to 12-month glimpse into the future of nonresidential construction spending activity.
Officials say ABI’s August fall-off marks the 11th consecutive month of “essentially flat billings at architecture firms.” While the ABI eased in August, inquiries into new projects remained strong. However, newly signed design contracts dropped for the first time since April.
AIA’s chief economist, Kermit Baker, says uncertainty about the future remains prevalent throughout the industry.
“Business conditions at architecture firms continue to be sluggish,” he says. “New project work coming into architecture firms and ongoing project activity remain stalled in a relatively narrow range and exhibit very little month-to-month variation. Although this pause has taken the pressure off tight staffing conditions across the profession, there is considerable uncertainty over the direction of future activity.”
AIA data indicates that business conditions remained sluggish in the multifamily residential and institutional sectors. Firms with a commercial and industrial specialization reported billings growth for the third month in a row in August.
Business conditions declined in all but the Northeast (50.6). The South reported a score of 49.9, the Midwest scored 48.1 and the West scored 45.8.