AIA’s Billing Index Dips, But New Project Inquiries Get Stimulus Boost

downtick.jpgAfter gaining steadily in recent months, the American Institute of Architects’ Architecture Billings Index (an economic indicator of construction activity) dipped in April, falling to 42.8 from its March mark of 43.7. The good news? It’s the first time since last fall that the index, which reflects the approximate nine- to twelve-month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending, was above 40 for consecutive months. The bad news? Any number below 50 means that overall demand for design services has declined. Meanwhile, inquiries about new projects are the rise. “A growing number of architecture firms report potential projects arising from federal stimulus funds,” said Kermit Baker, AIA’s chief economist, in a statement released today. “Still, too many architects are continuing to report difficult conditions to feel confident that the economic landscape for the construction industry will improve very quickly. What these figures mean is that we could be seeing things turn around over a period of several months.”