With spring flowers came a torrent of demand for architectural services. The American Institute of Architects' Architecture Billings Index (ABI) increased for the fourth straight month and has been above 50 for two straight months, clocking in at a robust 55.6 for March 2021. Why is a value greater than 50 important? A value greater than 50 means that architecture billings are increasing; conversely, any value less than 50 means billings are decreasing. Architectural billings are a great nine to 12 month leading indicator of construction activity. 55.6 is the highest ABI since December 2017. Fantastic!
As if March's overall ABI figure wasn't good enough news, all of the ABI subcategories were also above 50. It has been a very long time (February 2019 I believe). The regional data is as follows:
The industry sector breakdown:
Does this recovery have steam? The project inquiries, coming in at 66.9, seem to indicate so. This is the highest that metric has been since I started following ABI in 2012.
There is not much color commentary needed. March was a great month and shows that there is a lot life in the AEC industry.