Architecture Billings Index Reports Slightly Improved Business Conditions

Architecture firms reported a modest increase in March billings. This positive news was tempered by a slight decrease in new design contracts according to a new report released today from The American Institute of Architects (AIA). March was the first time since last September in which billings improved.

The billings score for March increased from 48.0 in February to 50.4 in March (any score above 50 indicates an increase in firm billings). However, firms reported that inquiries into new projects grew at a slower pace, while the value of new design contracts declined from 51.3 in February to 48.9 in March.

“In spite of the positive movement in architecture firm billings in March, core concerns remain,” said Kermit Baker, AIA Chief Economist, Hon. AIA, PhD. “Inflation still needs to ease further for interest rates to return to more normal levels, and the banking turmoil still threatens to hold back residential and commercial construction loans.”

Key ABI highlights for March include:

  • Regional averages: Midwest (51.4); Northeast (49.1); South (47.4); West (47.2)
  • Sector index breakdown: mixed practice (firms that do not have at least half of their billings in any one other category) (53.9); institutional (48.8); commercial/industrial (49.7); multi-family residential (44.2)

The regional and sector categories are calculated as three-month moving averages and may not always average out to the national score.

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