WASHINGTON — The Architecture Billings Index (ABI), a leading economic indicator of construction activity, continues to strengthen. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the February ABI score was 54.9, up slightly from a mark of 54.2 in January. This score reflects a strong increase in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 64.8, higher than the reading of 63.2 the previous month and its highest mark since January 2007.

“Conditions have been strengthening in all regions and construction sectors for the last several months,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Ph.D., Hon. AIA. “Still, we also continue to hear a mix of business conditions in the marketplace as this hesitant recovery continues to unfold.”

The regional scores were the Northeast at 56.7, Midwest at 54.7, West at 54.7, and South at 52.7.

The sector index breakdown was multifamily residential at 60.9, mixed practice at 56.9, commercial/industrial at 53.3, and institutional at 50.7.

Publication date: 3/25/2013