ABI Rebounds After Two Negative Months

Following a two-month decline in demand for design services, architecture billings got a bounce in October, according to a new report from the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score in October is 52.0, up from the September score of 49.7. This score reflects an increase in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). During October, both the new project inquiries and design contracts scores moderated from September but remained positive, posting scores of 57.9 and 52.9, respectively.

Dodge Momentum Index Moves Higher in October

The Dodge Momentum Index increased 6.9% in October to 152.6 (the year 2000 = 100) from the revised September reading of 142.7. The Momentum Index, issued by Dodge Data & Analytics, is a monthly measure of the first (or initial) report for nonresidential building projects in planning, which have been shown to lead construction spending for nonresidential buildings by a full year.

October’s increase was due entirely to a recovery in institutional planning projects, which had stepped back over the previous few months. Institutional planning moved 22.8% higher in the month while commercial planning lost 0.5%.

Despite the October increase, institutional projects entering planning remain 4.3% lower on a year-over-year basis compared to October 2018. Commercial projects meanwhile are 14.3% higher than October 2018 as several mega projects have entered the early stages of planning over the last several months. The overall Momentum Index is 6.7%
higher than a year ago, although its level remains below the July 2018 peak.

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