The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) was positive in July for the sixth straight month, recording a score of 51.5. The index has been on the plus side for ten of the last 12 months as demand across all project types continued to increase.

As an economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine- to 12-month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the July score was down from a mark of 52.6 in the previous month. This score still reflects an increase in design services, as any score above 50 indicates an uptick in billings. The new projects inquiry index was 57.5, down from a reading of 58.6 the previous month.

“The uncertainty surrounding the presidential election is causing some funding decisions regarding larger construction projects to be delayed or put on hold for the time being,” says AIA chief economist Dr. Kermit Baker. “It’s likely that these concerns will persist up until the election, and therefore we would expect higher levels of volatility in the design and construction sector in the months ahead.”

Regional averages for the July ABI were: South (56.9), Midwest (50.1), Northeast (49.3) and West (49.2).

Index by sector broke down as follows: multifamily residential (55.2), institutional (50.7), mixed practice (50.5) and commercial/industrial (50.3).