The design and construction industry is on the rise, according to figures reported by the AIA’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI). The June ABI score was 53.5, up from a mark of 52.6 in May, marking the second consecutive month of growth. (An index score above 50 indicates growth, whereas a score below 50 indicates contraction.) The industry has been following a pattern of two months of growth after two months of contractions since November.
The new projects inquiry index was 66.4, the highest score in a calendar year. Up considerably from the reading of 63.2 in May, the value in this category has been increasing for the past four months.
AIA’s newest metric tracks the trends in new design contracts, which can be used to indicate the future direction of architecture billings. The score for design contracts in June was 55.7—the highest value since the AIA started tracking that measure in October 2010.
“With the first positive reading since last summer in billings at institutional firms, it appears that design activity for all major segments of the building industry is growing,” said AIA chief economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, in an AIA press release. “The challenge now for architecture firms seems to be finding the right balance for staffing needs to meet increasing demand.”
Here are the national and sector breakdowns.
National Billings: In its second consecutive month of growth, the national billings index grew by nearly one point from 52.6 in May to 53.5 in June.
Project inquiries: At 66.4, June’s value was the highest this category has seen in the calendar year. This category has experienced increasing values every month since February and consistent growth for more than five consecutive years.
Design Contracts: After taking a decrease in May, the design contracts indicator jumped from 52.5 to 55.7. This is the highest mark since the AIA started tracking design contracts in October 2010.
Northeast: In a region that has been experiencing contractions since Oct., the Northeast finally received a score above 50. June’s value of 51.1 is a jump from May’s 48.4.
Midwest: The Midwest saw its second month of growth following six consecutive months of contractions. June’s 56.3 is up noticeably from May’s 53.4.
South: Although June’s score of 53.9 is a decrease from May’s 56.3, the South is still in the positive—and has been experiencing growth for nearly two years.
West: The West is experiencing a three-month slump. June’s score, 48.7, is exactly the same as May’s and is one point above April’s value.
Multifamily Residential: June’s score of 57.7 is up 1.3 points from May’s 56.4. This sector has experienced growth since October 2011.
Commercial/Industrial: June’s score of 53.1 is up slightly from May’s 52.8. This sector has been in the positive since January.
Institutional: At 50.2, this sector experienced its first month of growth following nine consecutive months of contractions.
Mixed Practice: June marks the third month of growth in this sector. June’s score of 53.8 is up from May’s 53.0.
Charts: Maggie Goldstone, Kristopher Henson; Source: AIA Architecture Billings Index