Architecture firm clients place at least moderate priority on outcomes related to issues of health, resilience, and equity
Business conditions at architecture firms saw a slight improvement in March, following declining billings during the last five months. The AIA/Deltek Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score of 50.4 for the month indicates that a slight majority of firms reported an increase in their firm billings this month. In addition, backlogs at architecture firms ticked back up to an average of 6.9 months in the first quarter of 2023, after declining slightly in the fourth quarter of 2022. However, the pace of growth of inquiries into new projects at firms slowed in March, while the value of new design contracts declined for the first time in four months. This likely reflects the ongoing concern among clients about committing to new projects due to lingering uncertainty about interest rates and inflation.
Billings continued to decline at firms in most regions of the country in March, with only those firms located in the Midwest continuing to report growth, as has been the case for the last five months. Business conditions also remained soft at firms of all specializations, as firms with a multifamily residential specialization saw conditions weaken to the lowest level since the early days of the pandemic. Only firms with a mixed specialization, meaning that they do not receive a majority of their billings from any one category, continued to report billings growth.