The Architecture Billing Index (ABI) dropped nearly four points in January, but just managed to stay in positive territory with a score of an even 50 (any score below 50 indicates shrinking billings). The new projects enquiry index also fell significantly from 61.6 in December to 56.5 in January, but remained comfortably in positive territory. Even with the fall in the indexes, the AIA believes the overall trend is stable with mild growth.
“We’ve been taking a cautiously optimistic approach for the last several months and there is no reason at this point to change that outlook,” said AIA chief economist Kermit Baker in a statement.
Significant regional differences persist. The Midwest led in January with a score of 56.4, the South picked up with an index of 51.3, and the Northeast stayed in positive territory at 50.4. The West continued to drag down the overall index with a score of 47.3.
The differences were smaller across sectors. Commercial industrial billings scored 54.6, multi-family residential came in at 53.7, and institutional worked billings totaled 51.3. The mixed-practice index was lowest at 48.7.