The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) hit a 5-year high of 54.2 in January, marking a sixth consecutive month of growth in design billings. The reported growth in billings is widespread, covering all industry segments and all geographic regions.
The Midwest region (54.4) continues to show the strongest rate of growth. The West region (53.4) rebounded in January, after a brief stall in November and December. The Northeast (50.3) posted a fourth consecutive month of growth in January, although the rate of growth dipped slightly. The South (51.7) region holds the longest growth streak (7 months) of the four regions.
All industry sectors reported an increase in architectural billings. The residential sector (54.5) and the commercial and industrial sector (52) bounced back in January after a dip in the rate of growth in December. These two sectors have strung together 7 months and 6 months of consecutive growth, respectively. The institutional sector (50.2) continues to hover just above the break-even mark, as it has for the past 6 months.
As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate 9-12-month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending.