Continuing the positive momentum of a nearly three-point bump in January, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) reached its first positive mark since February 2020, according to a new report today from The American Institute of Architects (AIA).

AIA’s ABI score for February was 53.3 compared to 44.9 in January (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). February also marked the first time the design contract score rose back into positive territory since the pandemic began with a score of 51.6 compared to 48.8 in January. The new project inquiries score for February reached a 22-month high water mark with a score of 61.2 compared to 56.8 in January.

“Hopefully, this is the start of a more sustained recovery. It is possible that scores will continue to bounce above and below 50 for the next few months, as recoveries often move in fits and starts,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “Beyond the encouraging billing data, architecture employment added 700 new positions in January and has now regained 45 percent of the jobs that were lost since the beginning of the pandemic.”

Key ABI highlights for February include:

Regional averages: South (52.4); West (49.5); Midwest (49.3); Northeast (46.9)
Sector index breakdown: mixed practice (52.5); commercial/industrial (50.5); multi-family residential (48.3); institutional (47.8)
Project inquiries index: 61.2
Design contracts index: 51.6
The regional and sector categories are calculated as a three-month moving average, whereas the national index, design contracts and inquiries are monthly numbers.

Visit AIA’s website for more ABI information.


About AIA

Founded in 1857, AIA consistently works to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through more than 200 international, state and local chapters, AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public wellbeing.

AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation, and world. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards.