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Hurricanes and Wildfires Slow Design Business in October

Economic

Architecture firm billings growth softened in October but remained positive for the thirteenth consecutive month, according to a new report released today from The American Institute of Architects (AIA).

AIA’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score for October was 50.4 compared to 51.1 in September. With continued strength in new project inquiries, billings are expected to remain steady into the coming months.

“The aftermath of this year’s hurricanes and wildfires are the likely cause of the billings contraction we’re seeing in the South and West regions,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “These natural disasters have clouded the health of design and construction activity, making it difficult to separate a temporary setback from a general slowdown in design activity.”

Key ABI highlights for October include:

  • Regional averages: Midwest (57.8), Northeast (51.8), South (48.4), West (46.9)
  • Sector index breakdown: mixed practice (52.7), multi-family residential (52.3), institutional (52.0), commercial/industrial (48.9)
  • Project inquiries index: 58.6
  • Design contracts index: 52.8

Regional and sector categories above are calculated as a three-month moving average, whereas the national index, design contracts, and inquiries are monthly numbers.

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