The American Institute of Architects’ latest data show that the Architectural Billings Index increased from 51 in November to 52 in December, but above the benchmark of 50 (scores over 50 indicate an increase in firm billings). New inquiries have grown since last month, from 59.4 up to 66.8, and design contracts have remained unchanged at 55.8.

Although there have been widespread concerns in the industry over inflation as well as labor and supply shortages, especially amidst the spike in covid cases due to the omicron variant, firms have continued to report a high volume of upcoming work with new design contracts and inquiries remaining strong.

“Since demand for design projects has been healthy over the last year, recruiting architectural staff to keep up with project workloads has been a growing concern for firms,” explains AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker. While “Architecture is one of the few industries where payrolls have already surpassed their pre-pandemic high," he warns that “meeting future staffing needs is a challenge that most firms will need to confront."

Compare recent ABI scores with the interactive graph below.