Business conditions remained stalled at architecture firms during August as demand for design services continued to decline, according to a new report from the American Institute of Architects (AIA).
The pace of decline during August remained at about the same level as in July and June, posting an Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score of 40.0 (any score below 50 indicates a decline in firm billings). Inquiries into new projects during August grew for the first time since February, and the value of new design contracts increased to a score of 46.0. As a result, fewer firms reported a decline in August, despite the fact that they remained negative overall.
“Unfortunately, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many architecture firms are finding fewer inquiries that convert to billable projects,” says AIA chief economist, Kermit Baker. “While fewer firms reported declining billings in August than during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the fact that the score has been unchanged for the last three months shows that the recovery from this downturn is not progressing at the pace we had hoped to see.”
Key ABI figures for August include:
- Regional averages: Midwest (41.7); South (41.6); West (41.3); Northeast (33.9)
- Sector index breakdown: multifamily residential (49.4); mixed practice (41.9); institutional (40.2); commercial/industrial (35.5)
- Project inquiries index: 51.6
- Design contracts index: 46.0