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Crane Hot Line

Strong Increase in Design Activity Signals Construction is Recovering

May 25, 2021 – Continuing its meteoric rebound, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) recorded its third consecutive month of positive billings, according to a new report today from The American Institute of Architects (AIA).

AIA’s ABI score for April rose to 57.9 compared to 55.6 in March (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). Neither score has been achieved since before the Great Recession. During April, new project inquiries and new design contracts reached record highs with scores of 70.8 and 61.7, respectively.

“Consumers and businesses are feeling much more confident about the economic outlook as this month’s ABI continues to accelerate,” said AIA Iowa Executive Director, Jessica Reinert.  “The Midwest region is leading the way with one of the highest scores. We are seeing a pent-up demand for new and retrofitted facilities and its keeping architecture firms in all building sectors busy.”

Key ABI highlights for April include:

•    Regional averages: Midwest (60.6); South (58.3); Northeast (55.0); West (52.4) 
•    Sector index breakdown: commercial/industrial (59.1); multi-family residential (56.9); institutional (56.7); mixed practice (55.0)    
•    Project inquiries index: 70.8
•    Design contracts index: 61.7

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


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