The Architectural Billings Index (ABI) is continuing to rise, according to the latest report from the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The February ABI score was 54.9, up slightly from a mark of 54.2 in January. The ABI reflects the approximate nine- to twelve-month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. AIA officials say the latest score reflects a strong increase in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 64.8, higher than the reading of 63.2 the previous month–and its highest mark since January 2007.

“Conditions have been strengthening in all regions and construction sectors for the last several months,” says AIA chief economist Kermit Baker. “Still, we also continue to hear a mix of business conditions in the marketplace as this hesitant recovery continues to unfold.”