After reporting continued declines in billings for most of the summer, more architectural firms are seeing an increase in billings, according to a new survey released by the Washington-based American Institute of Architects.
With any score below 50 indicating a decline in firm billings, AIA members in September reported a 47.0 score. While that Architecture Billings is below the 54.2 recorded in the summer of 2018, it is still an improvement over the 40.0 score recorded in August.
In May the numbers had dipped to 32.0. According to one industry analysis, more than 70% of firms nationally saw their billings significantly drop between March and June of this year due to the Covid-19 outbreak and subsequent economic shutdown.
By September, however, inquiries into new projects had improved from 51.6 in August to 57.2. New design contracts similarly showed a slight increase from 46.0 in August to 48.9 in September.
Regionally, the West and Midwest reported the strongest index showings at 45.6 each, followed by the South at 43.7, and the Northeast, with 41.5.
Despite the modestly improving numbers, Kermit Baker, AIA chief economist, said the latest index results show that “overall business conditions are recovering at a disappointingly slow pace.”
Continued Baker: “Other sectors may begin to stabilize in the coming months, but across the board improvement should not be expected until the economic impact of the pandemic subsides significantly.”
By Garry Boulard
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