ABI March 2022: Architecture Firm Billings Show Growth
Architecture firm billings showed strong growth in March, following more modest increases over the previous three months. The Architecture Billings Index score of 58.0 for the month is one of the highest scores seen since the economic recovery began just over a year ago.
Despite ongoing concerns about rising inflation and the war in Ukraine, business conditions remained robust at most architecture firms. Indicators of future work strengthened this month as well, most notably with the value of new design contracts, which also saw strong growth. In addition, firms reported that at the end of the first quarter of 2022, their firm’s backlogs stood at an average of 7.2 months. This was an increase of more a month from one year ago and a new all-time high since we began collecting data on backlogs in 2010. Looking at design contracts and backlogs together indicates that most firms have plenty of projects in the pipeline to keep them busy over the coming months, although finding enough employees to complete these projects remains challenging.
Northeast billings soften as Midwest, West Strengthen
However, there are still substantial disparities in business conditions at architecture firms in different regions of the country. Firms located in the Northeast continued to report softening billings in March, for the seventh consecutive month. On the other hand, business conditions continued to strengthen at firms located in the Midwest and West regions and remained at robust levels for firms located in the South. Strong growth also continued at firms with a multifamily residential specialization this month, with conditions nearly returning to the high levels seen last spring. Growth continued at a moderate pace at firms with a commercial/industrial specialization, while firms with an institutional specialization saw basically flat conditions, following modest declines in billings in the three previous months.