The American Institute of Architects monthly Architecture Billings Index posted at 50.1 in June, falling 0.9 point from May's score of 51.0 but remaining above the score of 50.0—the first time in nearly a year that the score has remained above 50.0 for two straight months. The ABI is a leading economic indicator of construction activity in the U.S. and reflects a nine- to 12-month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending nationally, regionally, and by project type. A score above 50 represents an increase in billings from the previous month, while a score below 50 represents a contraction.

The scores for project inquiries and design contracts were mixed in June. New project inquiries scored 56.7, falling 0.5 point from May's score of 57.2. Design contracts posted a score of 52.7, increasing 0.4 point from May's score of 52.3.

“It is encouraging to see two consecutive months of stability in billings after a couple quarters of weakness due to high inflation, rising interest rates, and increased construction costs,” said AIA chief economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, in a press release from the organization. “We are still facing some headwinds in the broader economy, but this respite suggests that market conditions may be finding firmer ground.”

The month-to-month changes in scores for regional billings—which, unlike the national score, are calculated as three-month moving averages—largely expanded in June, with one score remaining below 50.0. Billings in the Midwest rose 2.8 points to a score of 52.4, while billings in the West also increased 0.9 point to a score of 48.6. Billings in the South decreased 1.8 points to a score of 50.5, and billings in the Northeast rose 1.9 points to a score of 50.6.

May's sector billings scores expanded slightly. The commercial/industrial sector increased 0.3 point to a score of 47.8; the institutional sector increased 2.0 points to a score of 55.4. The multifamily residential score increased 4.4 points to a score of 47.4, and the mixed practice sector fell 3.9 points to a score of 48.8. Like the regional billings scores, sector billings scores are also calculated as three-month moving averages.

Read more business news: March Billings Improve Slightly | Decline Slows for December Billings | Billings Slow Again in November | Moderated September billings reflect pressures in housing market