A 5 percent drop to 45.8 for May’s Architecture Billings Index from a month ago upset a string of positive scores (anything at 50 or above represents an increase in billings) during the first quarter. However, the new-projects index remains positive, with a score of 54.0 in May, only a slight decrease from April’s 54.4.
The drop represents continued economic uncertainty, particularly the weak job growth in recent months, said Kermit Baker, AIA chief economist, in a release. “This should be an alarm bell going off for the design and construction industry,” he said.
While the commercial/industrial sector has slowed, it’s the only one reporting an increase in design activity with a ranking of 50.7. The multifamily and residential category came in at 48.9, institutional at 45.6, and mixed-practice at 41.5. Regionally, the Northeast indexed at 48.6, the West at 47.6, the Midwest at 46.8, and the South at 46.1. Regional and sector categories are calculated on a three-month moving average.
Billings for June will be released July 18.