The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported modest growth for architecture firm billings in September. While growth was strong throughout 2022, firms reported being less optimistic for 2023, says the AIA.

September’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score of 51.7 is slightly lower than August’s score of 53.3; however, most firms reported growth for the 20th straight month. Any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings from the prior month.

The AIA says there are two areas of focus in the coming months. This includes client inquiries into new projects and the value of design contracts. Both indicators recorded their lowest post-pandemic growth rates in September. This means that fewer clients are expressing interest in new projects.

Despite the declining growth rates, firms throughout the country reported billings growth in September. The strongest conditions were reported by firms in the Northeast and Midwest. Though firms with a commercial/industrial specialization saw their billings decline in September. Institutional firms, however, reported strong business conditions this month, with billings reaching their highest level in several years.

Overall, business conditions remain strong across the country. The West recorded a score of 51.6; the Midwest scored 52.1; the South scored 51.7 and the Northeast scored 54.6.

The sector index breakdown shows that all but institutional services (58.9) resided below 50. Resident residential scored 47.9 and commercial/industrial scored 49.6.

The regional and sector categories are calculated as a three-month moving average, whereas the national index, design contracts and inquiries are monthly numbers.