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ABI Back in Positive Territory
But Only Slightly and Only Because of South's Performance

ABI Back in Positive Territory

April's ABI by region saw the South with a positive score of 51.6, but the Midwest (49.3), West (49.0), Northeast (45.1) failed to crack the breakeven point.

After a disappointing report in March in which the Architecture Billings Index fell into negative territory, the latest survey found the ABI back in black, though barely, according to The American Institute of Architects.

The tally for April for design services came in at 50.5, which is up from 47.8 in March (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings from the previous month). However, it was the strength of businesses in the South that did the heavy lifting as most regional and sector indicators continue to register decreasing demand for design services.

"In contrast to 2018, conditions throughout the construction sector recently have become more unsettled," said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. "Though we may not be at a critical inflection point, the next several months of billing data will be indicative of the health of the industry going into 2020."

In the sector index breakdown: mixed practice posted a 53.2; institutional a 49.2; multi-family residential a 47.4; and commercial/industrial a 46.6.

The project inquiries index scored 60.9 and the design contracts recorded a 52.1.
The regional and sector categories are calculated as a three-month moving average, whereas the national index, design contracts and inquiries are monthly numbers.

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November 17, 2019, 5:57 am PDT

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