WASHINGTON — After starting out the year on a positive note, there was another minor increase in the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) in February. A leading economic indicator of construction activity, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the February ABI score was 50.7, up slightly from a mark of 50.4 in January. This score reflects an increase in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 56.8, down from the reading of 58.5 the previous month.

“The unusually severe weather conditions in many parts of the country have obviously held back both design and construction activity,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “The March and April readings will likely be a better indication of the underlying health of the design and construction markets. We are hearing reports of projects that had been previously shelved for extended periods of time coming back online as the economy improves.”

The regional scores were the South at 52.8, West at 50.5, Northeast at 48.3, and Midwest at 47.6.

The sector index breakdown was multifamily residential at 52.5, commercial/industrial at 51.9, institutional at 49.6, and mixed practice at 46.6.

For more information, visit www.aia.org.

Publication date: 3/31/2014

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