It is Friday, so let's start with some good news: the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Architecture Billing Index (ABI) rebounded from last month's beyond dismal 25.1 figure up to 32 for May 2020. The bad news: 32 is still pretty bad (OK, it sucks...). Hopefully this is a turn in the right direction, though. As a reminder, ABI is a leading indicator of commercial building construction by approximately nine to 12 months. A value greater than 50 means that architecture billings are increasing; any value less than 50 means billings are decreasing, which is the case for the past few months. The overall ABI is as follows:
Notice the sharp uptick in May. Hopefully it is not a dead cat bounce. As for the regional breakdown:
The Sector Averages for May 2020 are as follows:
It is unwise to call a trend based on the two most recent monthly data points, so I will just state that I hope that the bottom has been reached. Given the uptick in COVID-19 cases in the South, the region that has been the strongest in the construction industry for much of the past decade, I am worried that we are still far away from a V-shaped recovery in construction in spite of pent up demand.