Economy Watch: Architects Remain in Demand in November

The American Institute of Architects' Architecture Billings Index came in at 55.0, up from the previous month, meaning demand for U.S. architecture firms' design services remains strong.
Kermit Baker, Chief Economist, AIA
Kermit Baker, Chief Economist, AIA

Demand for design services at architecture firms remains strong, according to the American Institute of Architects latest report. In November, its Architecture Billings Index came in at 55.0, up from a score of 51.7 in the previous month.

That score reflects an increase in design services provided by U.S. architecture firms. The new projects inquiry index was 61.1, up from a reading of 60.2 the previous month, while the new design contracts index rose slightly from 52.8 to 53.2.

The index is a leading economic indicator of commercial and residential construction activity, reflecting the nine- to 12-month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending. The index usually predicts U.S. construction spending growth, though not always in every real estate sector.

AIA’s survey asks participants whether their billings increased, decreased, or stayed the same for the month, compared to the month before. The index centers around 50, with tallies above 50 pointing to an increase in billings, while tallies below 50 mean a decline.

Not only are design billings overall seeing their strongest growth of the year, the strength is reflected in all major regions and construction sectors,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, in the report. “The construction industry continues to show surprising momentum heading into 2018.”