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ABI Caps 2016 With Solid December Score

Index's Largest Increase of Year, AIA Says


Design billings came in with a strong score of 55.9 in December, but new project inquiries fell from 59.5 to 57.2.

The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) surged by more than five points in December to 55.9, capping 2016 with a gain for the third straight month -- the largest increase in design services for the year.

A leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate 9-12 month lead-time between architecture billings and construction spending, with scores above 50 indicating an increase in billings.

"The sharp upturn in design activity as we wind down the year is certainly encouraging," said Kermit Baker, chief economist for the AIA. "This bodes well for the design and construction sector as we enter the new year."

By sector, as a three-month moving average, commercial-industrial had the highest score at 54.3, followed by institutional at 53.3, mixed-practice at 51.9 and multifamily residential at 50.6.

Also on a three-month moving average, all four regions were above the AIA's benchmark 50 level, except for the West (48.8). The Midwest was at 54.4; the Northeast at 54.0; and the South was at 53.8.

The AIA's new project inquiries index was at 57.2 in December, down from a reading of 59.5 the previous month.

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July 17, 2019, 8:23 pm PDT

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