Demand for design services decreased for the second consecutive month in November following nearly two years of continuous growth, states the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The association reports that November’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score was 46.6 compared to October’s ABI of 47.7 (any score below 50 indicates a decline in firm billings).

October’s ABI reading was the first decline in billings since January 2021. The AIA says that the pace of decline during November accelerated from October. Inquiries into new projects slowed but remained above the 50 threshold with a score of 52.0. New design contracts, however, remained negative, with a score of 46.9.

“Given the slowdown in new project work, many architecture firms will rely on their near record levels of backlogs to support revenue,” says Kermit Baker, AIA chief economist. “Still, firm leaders remain largely optimistic about future business trends. Almost two-thirds of architecture firms project that 2023 will be either a good year or a great year for their firm.”

Regionally, all but the South posted scores in the negative (below 50). The South scored 50.5; the Midwest scored 47.6; the West scored 45.8, and the Northeast scored 42.4. Each region’s score decreased from October.

Multi-family residential and commercial/industrial projects reported a score of 46.1 and 44.2, respectively. The institutional sector dropped below the 50 mark with a score of 47.7. This follows October’s score of 54.3.