Business Conditions Slowly Recovering

WASHINGTON – Oct. 21, 2020 – A slight improvement in business conditions has led to fewer architecture firms reporting declining billings, according to a new report today from The American Institute of Architects (AIA).

AIA’s ABI score for September was 47.0 compared to 40.0 in August (any score below 50 indicates a decline in firm billings). Last month’s score indicates overall revenue at U.S architecture firms continued to decline from August to September, however, the pace of decline slowed significantly. Inquiries into new projects during September grew for the second time since February, with a score of 57.2 compared to 51.6 in August. The value of new design contracts moderated to a score of 48.9 in September from 46.0 the previous month.
“Despite the multi-family residential sector showing signs of improvement, overall business conditions are recovering at a disappointingly slow pace,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “Other sectors may begin to stabilize in the coming months, but across the board improvement shouldn’t be expected until the economic impact of the pandemic subsides significantly.”

Key ABI figures for September include:
• Regional averages: Midwest (45.6); West (45.6); South (43.7); Northeast (41.5)
• Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (54.0); mixed practice (47.3); commercial/industrial (43.3); institutional (40.5)
• Project inquiries index: 57.2
• Design contracts index: 48.9

The regional and sector categories are calculated as a three-month moving average, whereas the national index, design contracts and inquiries are monthly numbers.

Visit AIA’s website for more ABI information.