Note: This index is a leading indicator primarily for new Commercial Real Estate (CRE) investment.
From the AIA: Architecture firms end 2021 on a strong note
As architecture firms ended 2021 on a high note with strong business conditions, staff recruitment is becoming a growing concern among firms.
December’s Architectural Billings Index (ABI) score of 52.0 was an increase from 51.0 in November (any score over 50 indicates billings growth). Despite a variety of concerns related to the omicron variant, labor shortages, and rising prices as well as limited availability of construction materials, firms continued to report a robust supply of work in the pipeline. Inquiries into new work and the value of new design contracts both remained strong, and backlogs, at an average of 6.5 months, remained near their highest levels since the AIA began tracking this metric in 2010.
“Since demand for design projects has been healthy over the last year, recruiting architectural staff to keep up with project workloads has been a growing concern for firms,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “Architecture is one of the few industries where payrolls have already surpassed their pre-pandemic high, so meeting future staffing needs is a challenge that most firms will need to confront.”
• Regional averages: South (56.4); Midwest (51.0); West (47.5); Northeast (45.3)
• Sector index breakdown: mixed practice (60.6); multi-family residential (49.2); commercial/industrial (49.2); institutional (47.6)
This graph shows the Architecture Billings Index since 1996. The index was at 52.0 in December, up from 51.0 in November. Anything above 50 indicates expansion in demand for architects’ services.
Note: This includes commercial and industrial facilities like hotels and office buildings, multi-family residential, as well as schools, hospitals and other institutions.
This index was below 50 for eleven consecutive months but has been positive for the last eleven months.