The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) dropped again, posting another score below 50 for the third consecutive month. Any score under 50 signifies a decline in billings from the previous month. Data from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) shows that October’s score fell to 44.3 from September’s reading of 44.8.
AIA’s chief economist Kermit Baker says the data indicates fewer clients are exploring and committing to new projects, which could impact future billings. He adds the soft conditions were evident across the entire country as well as all major nonresidential building sectors.
ABI data pinpoints the softest conditions occurred in the West (40.0) and Northeast (42.1). The South scored 48.5, and the Midwest rounded out the regional averages with a 48.9 reading.
As for the various industry sectors, the multifamily residential segment had the lowest score at 40.1. The commercial/industrial sector tallied 43.7, the mixed practice segment hit 44.0 and the institutional sector scored 49.1. Furthermore, the project inquiries index reached 48.8, and the design contracts index read 46.5.
The ABI is a leading economic indicator of construction activity, providing an approximately nine- to 12-month glimpse into the future of nonresidential construction spending activity.