The American Institute of Architects' latest data shows that the Architectural Billing Index (ABI) eased to 55.6 in August, up slightly from 54.6 in July but still above the bench line of 50 (scores over 50 indicate an increase in firm billings). New Inquiries and contracts have slowed but are still up considerably compared to this time last year, at 64.7 and 56.6, respectively.

“The surge in design activity continued in August, signifying an expected upturn in construction activity in the fourth quarter and continuing into 2022,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker. “This expected expansion will magnify the already serious problems of price inflation and availability of many construction products and materials, as well as the emerging labor shortages in the industry.”