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Architecture Billings Index Barely
Changes in November

But New Projects Inquiry Index Jumps 4.1 Points


The Architecture Billings Index moved just slightly downward in November, but managed to stay above its benchmark level of 50, a sign that architecture firms experienced an aggregate increase in billings for the month.

The Architecture Billings Index remained essentially unchanged in November, posting a reading of 50.6, compared to 50.8 in October, the American Institute of Architects reports.

After rebounding strongly in October -- moving up from 48.4 in September and 49.7 in August -- the ABI was able to stay in positive territory in November. Scores above 50 indicate an aggregate increase in billings, and scores below 50 point to a drop.

The ABI is a significant report for the building industry, because it is an indicator of future construction spending, with a lead-time of about nine to 12 months.

With that in mind, the AIA's new projects inquiry index was at a reading of 59.5 in November, up from 55.4 the previous month, an indication that construction activity will expand in the near future.

Regional ABI averages: Midwest (50.9); Northeast (50.8); South (51.3); West (48.6).

The Wells Fargo Economics Group reports that multifamily residential and mixed-use billings both rose 1.3 points to 51.7 and 51.3, respectively, suggesting these sectors will grow in the near term. Commercial-industrial and institutional billings saw gains in November, but the latter remains in contraction territory.

On a regional basis, the South was the only region to see a decline, falling to 51.3, Wells Fargo's economists said. The Northeast had the largest gain, increasing 2.2 points to 50.8, while the West's 0.1 increase to 48.6 was not enough to push it above 50.

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May 23, 2019, 4:43 am PDT

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