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September ABI Remains Strong, Firms Report Strong Backlogs

Architecture firms continued to report strong business conditions in September. The ABI score, compiled by the American Institute of Architects, rose by a point from August to 56.6, one of the higher scores seen this year. The ABI scores over the last eight months continue to be among the highest ever seen in the immediate post-recession periods that have been captured throughout the index’s history, underscoring just how strong the bounce back has been this year following the abrupt downturn in 2020.

Firms continue to report plenty of work in the pipeline as well, with inquiries into new projects and the value of new design contracts remaining strong. In addition, backlogs at architecture firms reached a new high since AIA started collecting the data on a quarterly basis in late 2010, now averaging 6.6 months.

Midwest leads in billings, Commercial remains strong

Firm billings remained strongest at firms located in the Midwest in September, and business conditions also strengthened further at firms located in the South. Billings growth continued to soften at firms located in the Northeast, but remained positive overall. Firms with a commercial/industrial specialization reported the strongest billings for the eighth consecutive month, although business conditions remain robust at firms with multifamily residential and institutional specializations as well.

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