March’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI) marked the 14th month of declining billings at architecture firms.

March’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI) marked the 14th month of declining billings at architecture firms. The monthly report issued by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) shows that March’s reading of 43.6 was down from February’s score of 49.5. Any score below 50 marks a decline in billings from the previous month.

AIA officials explain that the low scores result from various economic factors, including inflation and supply chain challenges.

While inquiries into new projects grew over the past year, it has been slower than in 2021 and 2022. More notably, the value of newly signed design contracts (50.0) was flat in March, which has been the trend for the past year and a half. Officials say this shows that clients are interested in starting new projects but remain hesitant to sign a contract and commit to those projects.

However, most firms report that they still have strong project backlogs of 6.6 months, on average, so even with the ongoing soft patch, they still have work in the pipeline.

All four regions reported scores under 50. Billings were most sluggish in the South (45.3) and Midwest (45.2). The strongest score came from the West (47.6), while the Northeast scored 46.0.

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