May's Architectural Billings Remain Flat

Demand for design services in May remained essentially flat in comparison to the previous month, according to a new report today from the AIA. AIA’s ABI score for May showed a small increase in design services at 50.2, which is slightly down from 50.5 in April. Any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings. Both the project inquiries index and the design contracts index softened in May but remained positive.

“The last four consecutive months, firm billings have either decreased or been flat, the longest period of that level of sustained softness since 2012,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “While both inquiries into new projects and the value of new design contracts remained positive, they both softened in May, another sign the amount of pending work in the pipeline at firms may be starting to stabilize.”

Key ABI highlights for May include:

  • Regional averages: Midwest (51.6); South (51.4); West (50.0); Northeast (47.5)
  • Sector index breakdown: mixed practice (55.4); commercial/industrial (53.0); institutional (48.0); multi-family residential (46.0)
  • Project inquiries index: 56.2
  • Design contracts index: 50.9