After contracting in April, the design and construction industry rebounded into positive territory in May, according to the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) released by the AIA today. May's score was 51.9, more than three points up from April's mark of 48.8 and marginally greater than March's score of 51.7. Scores above 50 indicate an increase in billings, whereas those below 50 mean a contraction.
Other national economic indicators in the report signified monthly growth in the industry. The new projects inquiries index for May was 61.5, up more than one point from the previous month, and the design contracts index was 53.4, rising slightly from April's score of 53.1.
“As has been the case for the past several years, while the design and construction industry has been in a recovery phase, we continue to receive mixed signals on business conditions in the marketplace,” said AIA chief economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, in a press release. “Generally, the business climate is favorable, but there are still construction sectors and regions of the country that are struggling, producing the occasional backslide in the midst of what seems to be growing momentum for the entire industry.”
Here are the national, regional, and sector breakdowns for the May ABI report.
National Billings: The May score of 51.9 marks the third month of growth in 2015, albeit nonconsecutive.
Project Inquiries: The value in this category has risen for the past three months, climbing to 61.5 in May.
Design Contracts: Rising for the third consecutive month, this scored a value of 53.4 in May.
Northeast: May's score was 45.2, marking the ninth consecutive month of contractions in the Northeast.
Midwest: Up marginally from April's mark of 52.2, May's score was 52.3.
South: In its second year of positive billings, the South continues to be the top region in demand for design services. In May, the region scored a value of 54.6.
West: At 49.9, the West slipped back into negative territory in May, marking its fourth month of contractions in 2015.
Multifamily Residential: Its seventh straight month of decline and its fourth consecutive month of contraction, the May score for multifamily residential projects was 45.9.
Commercial/Industrial: At 48.3, this sector experienced another month in the red.
Institutional: The institutional project category saw the greatest demand for design services in May with an index score of 55.2.
Mixed Practice: In its second month of growth in 2015, the mixed practice sector scored a value of 52.5.
Charts: Maggie Goldstone
Source: AIA Architecture Billings Index