Ending a two-month stretch of increasing levels of demand for architecture and design services, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) released by the AIA today dropped nearly three points from March to April. This marks one of two months in which the market has experienced contractions so far this year. (The other month was January). April's score of 48.8 is down from March’s 51.7 and February’s 50.4. Any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings, whereas a score below 50 means a contraction.
The good news is that other national economic indicators in the report looked positive. The new projects inquiries index for April was 60.1, up from a reading of 58.2 in March, while the design contracts index was 53.1, an increase from 52.3 in March.
“The fundamentals in the design and construction industry remain very healthy,” said AIA chief economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, in a press release. “The fact that both inquires for new projects and new design contracts continued to accelerate at a healthy pace in April points to strong underlying demand for design activity. However, April would typically be a month where these projects would be in full swing, but a severe winter in many parts of the Northeast and Midwest has apparently delayed progress on projects.”