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Business Conditions Remain Soft at Architecture Firms

Architecture firm billings remained soft for the fifth consecutive month in February, according to the American Institute of Architects' latest Architecture Billings Index. An ABI score of 48.0 indicates softer business conditions than in January.  However, while overall billings have declined every month since October 2022, the pace of the decline remains relatively modest and has not accelerated dramatically.

What this could mean

This could potentially indicate a shorter slowdown at firms, rather than a more dramatic downturn and full-blown recession. In addition, inquiries into new projects continued to grow at a steady pace this month, as did the value of newly signed design contracts. Even while billings have slowed, there continues to be client interest in starting new projects.

Softness remained pervasive at firms across most of the country in February as well. Firms located in the West reported very minor growth, while firms located in all other regions saw declining billings. Conditions remained softest at firms located in the South for the third consecutive month. Billings also continued to decline at firms of all specializations this month. The one exception is at firms with a mixed specialization, meaning that they do not receive 50 percent or more of their annual billings from any one of the three major sectors: multifamily residential, commercial/industrial, and institutional. These firms have reported consistent growth every month for the last two years.

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