Business conditions at architecture firms deteriorated in September, according to the American Institute of Architects (AIA)/Deltek Architecture Billings Index (ABI).
Last month, the ABI score was 44.8, the lowest score reported December 2020 during the height of the pandemic; in August, the score was 48.1. The AIA stated the low score indicated a significant decrease in billings coupled with a growing reluctance among clients to sign contracts committing to new projects.
Architecture firms reported backlogs of 6.5 months on average, down from their peak of an average of 7.2 months in March 2022. By firm specialization, billings were essentially flat at firms with an institutional specialization, while they declined further from August at firms with a commercial/industrial specialization and remained very soft at firms with a multifamily residential specialization, where billings have declined every month since August 2022.
Furthermore, the AIA noted the architecture industry shed 1,900 positions from July to August, offsetting most of the employment gains seen so far this year.