According to new data this week from The American Institute of Architects (AIA), demand for design services in April 2020 saw its steepest decline on record.
AIA's Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score of 29.5 for April reflects a decrease in design services provided by U.S. architecture firms (any number below 50 indicates a decrease in billings). During April, both the new project inquiries and design contracts scores also declined significantly, posting scores of 28.4 and 27.6 respectively.
"With the dramatic deceleration that we have seen in the economy since mid-March, it's not surprising that businesses and households are waiting for signs of stability before proceeding with new facilities," said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. "Once business activity resumes, demand for design services should pick up fairly quickly. Unfortunately, the precipitous drop in demand for design services will have lasting consequences for some firms."
Key ABI figures for April include:
Regional averages: West (38.1); Midwest (31.2); South (31.1); Northeast (23.0)
Sector index breakdown: institutional (36.1); multi-family residential (30.3); mixed practice (29.0); commercial/industrial (27.8)