In March, the American Institute of Architects’ Architecture Billings Index marked its eighth consecutive month of growth in the demand for architectural design services. While the national score of 51.9 is down three full points from February’s score of 54.9, the architecture industry is still seeing continued strength nationwide, and across all regions and industry sectors. (A score above 50.0 in the index means that demand is increasing.)
The score for project inquiries came in at 60.1, down from 64.8 in February. Still, March marked the third straight month that the project inquiries score topped 60, and it has been over 50 for more than four years now.
The ABI’s data continues to march in step with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics’ employment reports. Despite the weak overall labor market reported two weeks ago by the BLS, architectural and engineering services sector of the economy added 2,100 architectural and engineering services jobs in March. Before that, February had seen 3,100 new jobs, January saw a small dip of 300 jobs, December had seen 3,800 new jobs, November 2,400, and October 1,500.
All four of the nation’s four regions and all four of the industry’s sectors showed growth for the sixth straight month, which is the best run of growth since before the financial crisis and the bursting of the construction bubble.
Billings: At 51.9, down from 54.9, this is the eighth straight month of growth.
Inquiries: At 60.1, down from 64.8, this is the third straight month above 60.
Northeast: At 54.6, up from 54.3, this is the highest score since December 2007, and is the seventh straight month above 50.
Midwest: At 53.9, up from 53.8, this is the sixth straight month above 50.
South: At 53.6, up from 53.4, this is the highest score since December 2007, and it is the ninth straight month above 50.
West: At 51.9, down from 53.4, this is the eighth straight month above 50.
Multifamily Residential: At 56.9, down from 58.0, this is the 11th month above 50. In addition, the sector has come in above 50 for 25 of the past 30 months, making it the clear winner in the industry since the financial crisis.
Commercial: At 53.5, down from 53.8, this is the sixth straight month above 50. In addition, the sector has come in above 50 for 27 of the past 35 months, making it the second strongest sector since the recession.
Institutional: At 50.6, up from 50.3, this is the eighth straight month above 50.
Mixed Practice: At 53.3, down from 54.3, this is the seventh straight month above 50.