Architecture billings soar as U.S. construction booms

October 23, 2013 12:53PM

Thanks to an ever-growing demand for design services as the economy continues its slow recovery, the Architecture Billings Index, an economic indicator of construction activity, reached its second-highest level of the year in September.

Last month’s ABI score was 54.3, up from 53.8 in August, according to a report from the American Institute of Architects. Any score above 50 reflects a jump in billings, though the new projects inquiry index, at 58.6, was down from the previous month’s 63.

“The prolonged economic downturn that has affected the design and construction industry has actually resulted in the increased productivity levels as reported by architecture firms,” Kermit Baker, AIA chief economist, said in a release.

The West boasted the highest regional average in September, with 60.6, while the South posted an index of 54.2, the Midwest 51.1 and the Northeast 50.7. While the overall index and inquiries are monthly recordings, the regional categories are calculated as a three-month moving average.

The construction sector expected to reach $31.5 billion in spending this year in New York City alone. — Julie Strickland