The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) finished 2015 in positive terrain, recording month-to-month increases in eight of the year’s 12 months.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the December ABI score was 50.9, up from the mark of 49.3 in the previous month. This score reflects a slight increase in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 60.2, up from a reading of 58.6 the previous month.

As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine- to 12-month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending.
“As has been the case for the past several years, there continues to be a mix of business conditions that architecture firms are experiencing,” says AIA chief economist Dr. Kermit Baker. “Overall, however, ABI scores for 2015 averaged just below the strong showing in 2014, which points to another healthy year for construction this year.”

Regionally, ABI averages were: West (53.7), South (53.3), Northeast (46.7), Midwest (46.1). The sector index breakdown was: multi-family residential (52.9), institutional (52.2), commercial/industrial (47.3), mixed practice (46.5)