The American Institute of Architects (AIA) released the July Architecture Billings Index (ABI) last week while I was on vacation. Why is the ABI important? Well, the ABI is a nine-to-12 month leading indicator of construction activity. A value greater than 50 means that architecture billings are increasing; conversely, any value less than 50 means billings are decreasing. The numbers continue to be robust with the overall ABI measure clocking in at 58.5. If you are a pessimist, you might be thinking "the ABI was a record 58.5 for May 2021 and has decreased for two straight months" and you would be correct. However, since January 2012, the average ABI has been 50.7, so 54.6 is still pretty impressive. Scratch that, it is really impressive and it shows that the rebound in construction is still ongoing given that we have had six straight months above 53.
How are things playing out regionally? Pretty darn well overall. Three of four regions saw decreases but they just went from boiling lava hot to merely scorching:
The story is similar for the industry sector breakdown except all sectors declined:
Project inquiries also declined from 71.8 in June to 65 in July, but inquiries are still way above the historic average of 58.8.
Finally, in a gratuitous attempt to combine the two things I geek out on, below are a few pix of the four tower cranes up in Boise, ID. There were three when we visited in February; the first pic is the newest crane, a mixed-use development with multi-family unites on podium parking and and adjacent parking structure. Boise is a booming (to the excitement or chagrin to locals...housing prices are astronomical and I say that as someone living in California). Anyway, tower cranes and good economic data are two of my favorite things.