The American Institute of Architects released the October edition of its monthly Architecture Billings Index (ABI) today, showing growth in the design industry for all of 2013 except for a momentary dip under 50 in April. (Being an index, the ABI is scored with a breakeven point at 50, separating market growth above 50 and contraction below 50.) October's national billings score came in at 51.6, down from 54.3 in September, but growth nonetheless.

The score for project inquiries went back up again in October. The inquiries score was a strong 61.5, up from September's 58.6, making it seven of 10 months of 2013 when the project inquiries have scored over 60. This is easily the best year for the national billings and project inquiries since 2007.

National Highlights:
National billings: At 51.6, down from September's 54.3, the national billings score has come in over 50 for nine of the 10 months of 2013, and 14 of the last 15 months.
Project inquiries: At 61.5, up from 58.6, this has come in over 60 for seven of the last 10 months.

Regional Highlights:
Northeast: At 49.7, down from 50.1, this is the first month that the region has dipped into contraction in 14 months, and ended a three-month streak when all of the nation's regions were showing growth.
Midwest: At 51.6, down from 51.9, this is the fourth straight month for this region over 50.
South: At 54.4, up from 54.1, this is the 16th straight month for this region above 50.
West: At 55.9, even with last month, this is the 15th straight month for the region above 50.

Sector Highlights:
Commercial/Industrial: At 53.7, down from 55.4, this is the 13th straight month for the sector above 50.
Multi-family Residential: At 57.0, up from 55.2, this is the 18th straight month for the sector above 50.
Institutional: At 50.2, even with last month, this is the 15th straight month for this sector above 50. But the sector is slowing and barely hanging on and this could change next month.
Mixed Practice: At 53.2, down from 54.6, this is the 14th straight month for the sector above 50.