As the year 2021 nears its end, the Washington-based American Institute of Architects is reporting that the demand among clients for design services has been slightly decreasing, especially compared with a decided stretch of growth recorded earlier this year.
With any number above 50 reflecting growth, the overall score for the group’s Architecture Billings Index stood at 51.0 in November. At the same time, new project inquiries accounted for a strong 59.4 on the index.
In July, the score came in at 54.6, followed by a September showing of 56.6.
In April of 2020, one month after the Covid-19 outbreak and national economic shutdown, the index was in a freefall, dropping to an all-time low of 29.5.
In a statement, Kermit Baker, chief economist with the AIA, said that the “period of elevated bill scores nationally and across the major regions and construction sectors seems to be winding down for this cycle.”
Baker added that “ongoing external challenges like labor shortages, supply chain disruptions, spiking inflation, and prospects for rising interest rates, will likely continue to slow the growth in firm billings in the coming months.”
Regionally, the latest index reveals the strongest numbers in the Midwest at 57.6, followed by the South with 53.7, the West at 50.9, and the Northeast, which has lagged for much of this year, at 45.5.
By Garry Boulard
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