Demand for design services from U.S. architecture firms continued to contract in December, according to a new report from the American Institute of Architects (AIA).
The pace of decline during December slowed from November, posting an Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score of 47.5 from 46.6 (any score below 50 indicates a decline in firm billings). Inquiries into new projects posted a positive score of 52.3, however new design contracts remained in negative territory with a score of 49.4.
“Despite strong revenue growth last year, architecture firms have modest expectations regarding business conditions this coming year,” said Kermit Baker, PhD, chief economist for AIA. “With ABI scores for the entire fourth quarter of 2022 in negative territory, a slowdown in construction activity is expected later this year, though the depth of the downturn remains unclear.”
Key ABI highlights for December include:
- Regional averages: Midwest (49.4); South (48.6); Northeast (46.5); West (45.5)
- Sector index breakdown: mixed practice (54.8); institutional (47.3); commercial/industrial (45.2); multi-family residential (44.3)
The regional and sector categories are calculated as a three-month moving average, whereas the national index, design contracts and inquiries are monthly numbers.