After consecutive months of contracting demand, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) saw a modest increase. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the October ABI score was 50.8, up from 48.4 in the previous month.

abiThis score reflects a slight increase in design services, as any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings. The new projects inquiry index was 55.4, down sharply from 59.4 the previous month.

As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine- to 12-month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending.

“There was a collective sense of uncertainty throughout the design and construction industry leading up to the presidential election,” says AIA chief economist Dr. Kermit Baker. “Hopefully we’ll get a sense of what direction we will be headed once we get a clearer read on how the new administration’s policies might impact the overall economy as well as the construction industry.”

Regional ABI averages were: South (53.7), West (49.7), Northeast (47.3) and Midwest (46.8)

Index breakdown by sector was: multi-family residential (51.2), commercial/industrial (49.8), mixed practice (49.5) and institutional (49.1).