Let's get the bad news out of the way: the American Institute of Architect's Architectural Billings Index (ABI) clocked in at 47.5 for October. That is an increase over the previous month's reading of 47, yet a value less than 50 signifies that billings are decreasing (conversely, and this will be important if you continue reading, values greater than 50 mean billings are increasing). The ABI is a leading indicator of commercial building construction by approximately nine to 12 months, so it is an important leading economic indicator for the commercial building construction industry. Project inquiries increase their streak of being above 50 to three months with October registering a measuring in at 59.1. Inquiries represent interest in projects but not the actual start of design.
Now let's pivot towards some good(-ish) news: In terms of ABI measures with respect to geographic regions, all regions increased from the previous month and the West pierced the 50 level, being the first region to do so since February:
Now that I have your attention with some moderately good news, here's some even more moderately good news: all four industry sectors saw increases and TWO broke 50:
Given COVID, these gains are heartening and the industry is certainly moving in the right direction. That said, as I type this, we're staring at a giant third wave of COVID infections, the never ending post-election hangover and Congress heading for vacation without seriously considering a relief package. Hopefully this compendium of issues does not derail the planning and design of commercial buildings.