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Architecture Billings Falter

Drop into Negative Territory

Demand for design services in August dipped down below July's already soft score, according to the latest report released by The American Institute of Architects

After a barely positive score of 50.1 in July, AIA's Architecture Billings Index score slid to 47.2 in August (any score below 50 indicates a decrease in billings). And the score measuring design contracts also declined with a 47.9 reading, representing a rare dip for this indicator according to AIA. Billings in the West stayed modestly positive (51.2), while all other regions: Northeast (49.1); South (48.2); Midwest (46.4), ended up in negative territory.

"The sizeable drop in both design billings and new project activity, coming on the heels of six months of disappointing growth in billings, suggests that the design expansion that began in mid-2012 is beginning to face headwinds," said AIA chief economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. "Currently, the weakness is centered at firms specializing in commercial/industrial facilities as well as those located in the Midwest. However, there are fewer pockets of strength in design activity now, either by building sector or region than there have been in recent years."

Broken down by sector, the scores were: institutional (50.6); multi-family residential (50.5); commercial/industrial (46.9); mixed practice (46.3). In better news, the project inquiries index came in 54.5.

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December 14, 2019, 10:45 am PDT

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