The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reports that the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) rebounded in May to 51.0 from 48.5 in April, the highest score since September 2022.

The ABI’s growth varied regionally, with the South (52.3) improving for the second consecutive month. Billings declined in the West (47.7) and Northeast (48.7), where scores have been below 50 since last fall. Billings remained flat in the Midwest (49.6). Photo courtesy of Scott Blake.

The ABI is a leading economic indicator that leads nonresidential construction activity by approximately 9-12 months. Any score below 50 indicates a decline in billings.

Additionally, inquiries into new projects (57.2) and design contracts (52.3) increased in May, reaching their highest levels since February, say officials.

“The modest improvement in overall demand for architectural services that we saw last month is encouraging news,” says Kermit Baker, AIA’s chief economist. “However, there continues to be variation in the performance of firms by regional location and building specialization. This suggests that overall business conditions for the profession likely will continue to be variable.”

The ABI’s growth varied regionally, with the South (52.3) improving for the second consecutive month. Billings declined in the West (47.7) and Northeast (48.7), where scores have been below 50 since last fall. Billings remained flat in the Midwest (49.6).

Officials add that billings declined for the ninth consecutive month at firms with a commercial/industrial specialization. Billings also softened in May at firms with a multifamily residential specialization.

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