Still in Negative Territory
After a soft score of 47.2 in August (any score below 50 indicates a decrease in billings), the Architecture Billing Index rose to 49.7 in September. And even better, the scores measuring new project inquiries and design contracts were positive at 59.0 and 54.4 respectively.
Regionally the South stayed modestly positive (52.3), as did the West (51.3) but the Northeast (46.3) and the Midwest (45.3) dragged down the overall total. The scores by sector were multi-family residential (53.2), mixed practice (53.0), institutional (48.5) and commercial/industrial (45.3).
The monthly announcement issued by the American Institute of Architects stated, "While architecture billings moderated in September, design activity shows signs of remaining sluggish at U.S. architecture firms."
"The moderating billings score along with the rebound in design contracts and inquiries serve as a continued note of caution for the industry," said AIA chief economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. "Continued weakness in the larger economy still doesn't bode well for future design services, which will likely see continued volatility in the months ahead."