The October Architecture Billings Index (ABI), released today by the AIA, reported a decelerated pace of growth in the construction industry. October’s ABI score was 53.7, down from a mark of 55.2 in Septemberand up slightly from August’s score of 53.0. These scores all reflect increases in design activity (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings whereas a mark below 50 represents contraction).

The new projects inquiry index was 62.7, following a mark of 64.8 in September and 62.6 in August. October's score is slightly below the six-month average in this category.

The AIA’s newest metric, which tracks new design contracts and can be used to indicate the future direction of architecture billings, was 56.4, marginally below September’s mark of 56.8.

“Though it has been slow in emerging, we’re finally seeing some momentum develop in design activity for nonprofits and municipal governments, and as such we’re seeing a new round of activity in the institutional sector,” said AIA chief economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, in a press release. “It will be interesting to see if and how the results of the mid-term Congressional and gubernatorial elections impact this developing momentum.”

Here are the national and sector breakdowns for the October ABI report.

National Highlights

National Billings: October’s score of 53.7, 1.5 points below that of September’s, is still slightly ahead of September’s mark of 53.0. 
Project inquiries: This category experienced a 2.1-point decrease from September (64.8) to October (62.7). 
Design Contracts: The values in the design contracts category haven’t changed much since August. October’s mark of 56.4 is down from 56.8 in September and 56.9 in August.

Regional Highlights

Northeast: This region has experienced three months of falling scores, dipping into negative territory in September and October. Last month’s score of 47.0 is 2.8 points below September’s (49.8) and 7.4 points under August’s (54.4). 
Midwest: In its sixth consecutive month of growth, the Midwest received a mark of 54.4 in October, up a point from September’s score of 53.4. 
South:  The South experienced its third month of increasing scores and  is the only region to boast more than two whole years of consistent monthly growth. October’s score of 58.4 is almost two points above September’s (56.5). 
West: In the region’s fifth consecutive month of growth, the billings score jumped two points from September’s mark of 54.2 to October’s 56.1.

Sector Highlights

Multifamily Residential: Down slightly from September’s 55.1, October’s mark of 54.7 is the lowest score in seven months, though the sector has experienced consistent monthly growth for the past three years. 
Commercial/Industrial: Up slightly from September’s score of 51.5, October’s mark of 52.3 represents the 10th consecutive month of growth in this sector. 
Institutional: October’s score of 54.4 remains unchanged from the previous month. This marks the fifth consecutive month of growth for the sector. 
Mixed Practice: This sector had the strongest October—the billings score jumped up from 54.8 in September to 56.9 in October.

Charts: Maggie Goldstone; Source: AIA Architecture Billings Index