Architectural firms nationally are reporting a 2.5-point increase in billings during the month of September over the month before, says the Washington-based American Institute of Architects in its most recent Architectural Billings Index report.
The survey, which incorporates billings trends in small, medium, and large-sized architectural firms, scores billings on a zero to one hundred scale, with any score less than fifty pointing to a billings decrease from the month before.
While the September figures came in at 49.7, that number is still higher than the 47.2 recorded in August.
The billings survey also revealed that design contracts were significantly up in September over August, and that firm project backlogs continue to remain high at 6.2 months, although that number represented a slight decrease from the 6.5 posted earlier this summer.
“Billings remained weak at firms located in the Northeast and Midwest in September, softening further in both of those regions from August,” the report notes.
But growth continued at Southern firms for the second month in a row, “and for the fifth consecutive month at firms located in the West.”
Overall business conditions, continues the report, tended to hurt firms with either commercial or institutional specializations, but “improved at firms with a residential specialization, after a soft late spring and early summer period.”
In a statement, Kermit Baker, chief economist with the American Institute of Architects, said that even though the latest index represents a rebound in contracts, “Continued weakness in the larger economy still doesn’t bode well for future design services, which will likely see continued volatility in the months ahead.”
By Garry Boulard
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