For the first time in months, an index of new billings published by the American Institute of Architects has entered positive territory.
The group’s Architecture Billing Index, measuring new contracts, now stands at 53.3, a jump from the 44.9 it recorded earlier this year, and, most importantly, the highest index reading since just before the Covid-19 outbreak.
By way of comparison, the index stood at only 40.0 late last summer.
“Hopefully, this is the start of a more sustained recovery,” Kermit Baker, the chief economist with the AIA, said in a statement.
“It’s possible that scores will continue to bounce above and below 50 for the next few months as recoveries often move in fits and starts,” Baker continued.
Regionally, the South and West showed the most resiliency. Firm billings in the South stood at 52.4; followed by the West at 49.5.
The Northeast reported the lowest billings at 46.9, but even this number was up over last fall.
All of the regional numbers were substantially up from where they were in August of last year, when the South and West stood at 41.6 and 41.3 respectively, with the Northeast at a devastating 33.9.
Mixed practice firms saw the most buoyant index reading at 52.5, followed by firms specializing in commercial and industrial projects at 50.5.
Despite the national boom in multi-family residential construction, that market for architects remained below 50 at 48.3.
By Garry Boulard
Get stories like these right to your inbox. Sign up for our newsletter