Demand for Design Services Moderates but Remains Strong

According to a new report from The American Institute of Architects (AIA), architecture firms reported increasing demand for design services in October. The ABI score for October was 54.3, which is down slightly from September’s score of 56.6, but still indicates very strong business conditions overall. Any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings from the prior month. During October, scoring for both the new project inquiries and design contracts expanded, posting scores of 62.9 and 58.0 respectively.

“Unlike the economy-wide payroll figures, architecture services employment has surpassed its pre-pandemic high,” said AIA chief economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “Staffing continues to be a growing concern at architecture firms and may serve to limit their ability to take on new projects.”

Regionally, the averages were mostly up, with the Midwest coming in at 61.9 followed by the South with a score of 58.2 and the West at 53.4. The only region not showing an increase was the Northeast, that just missed the mark with a 48.6.

The regional and sector categories are calculated as a three-month moving average, whereas the national index, design contracts and inquiries are monthly numbers.
Mixed practice topped the sector index breakdown with 58.7. Commercial/industrial came in at 57.4, followed by multi-family residential with 55.8. Institutional building may have been the lowest score but it remained positive with a score of 51.4.

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