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October 1, 2019

AIA Architecture Billings Index Suggests Weakest Design Market in Recent Years

The AIA Architecture Billings Index dropped to 47.2 in August, down from 50.1 in July. Any score below 50 indicates a decrease in billings.

The score for new design contracts, which measures new design work coming into architecture firms, fell to  47.9, meaning that architects reported declines in both new work coming into their firms and design work that was being completed.

“The sizeable drop in both design billings and new project activity, coming on the heels of six months of disappointing growth in billings, suggests that the design expansion that began in mid-2012 is beginning to face headwinds,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker. “There are fewer pockets of strength in design activity now, either by building sector or region than there have been in recent years.”

Among specific practice sectors there was slight growth in institutional (50.6) and multi-family residential (50.5), but larger declines in commercial/industrial (46.9) and mixed practice (46.3).

Regionally, only the West (51.2) saw an increase in billings, while the Northeast (49.1), South (48.2) and Midwest (46.4) suffered declines.

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