The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported that architecture firms recorded an increased demand for design services this past May.

The latest data from the AIA shows that the Architectural Billings Index recorded a score of 53.5 in May. Though the score remains above the benchmark of 50, which indicates an increase in firm billings, May’s number is down from April’s score of 56.5. However, new project inquiries and design contract indexes expanded from 62.3 to 63.9 and 55.4 to 56.9, respectively.

“The strength in design activity over the past three months has produced a broader base of gains,” said AIA chief economist Kermit Baker. “The Northeast region and Institutional sector have struggled with slow billings activity, but now have posted consecutive months of positive scores. With the improvement in inquiries and new design projects, demand for design services will likely remain high for the next several months, despite strong economic headwinds.”

Regionally, the West sits at 59.3, the Midwest at 56.8, the South at 52.3 and the Northeast at 51.4. The sector index breakdown indicates that the commercial/industrial sector sits at 57.7, the mixed practice sector sits at 56.2, the multi-family residential sector sits at 54.5 and the institutional sector sits at 51.7.