ABI Trend Signals Growth in Construction Spending
For the seventh consecutive month, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) indicates growth in demand for design. The February ABI of 54.9 represents the highest index value since 2008, before the recession began. Growth has been pervasive across all industry sectors and all regions of the country. The residential sector is setting the pace, with ABI of 60.9. The commercial and industrial sector (53.3) has been consistently above 52 for the past 4 months after several months of modest decline last summer and into the early months of fall. For the seventh month in a row, the institutional sector (50.7) continues to hover just above the break-even point.
On a regional basis, the Northeast sector (56.7) leads the pack, followed by the West and Midwest regions (54.7). Although the South region (52.7) reports the slowest rate of growth for February, it also has the longest sustained growth streak, 8 months, of all regions.
As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate 9-12-month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending.