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After a slight downturn, the latest data from the American Institute of Architects shows the AIA/Deltek Architectural Billings Index (ABI) rising from 48.5 in April to 51.0 in May (scores over 50 indicate an increase in firm billings). This marks the highest rate of growth since last fall. New design contracts are also on the rise again for the first time since February, from 49.8 in April to 52.3 in May.

While national growth is promising, economic conditions are more variable on the regional level, with billings continuing to decline at firms located in both the West and Northeast. “The modest improvement in overall demand for architectural services that we saw last month is encouraging news," said AIA chief economist Kermit Baker. “However, there continues to be variation in the performance of firms by regional location and building specialization. This suggests that overall business conditions for the profession likely will continue to be variable."

Compare recent ABI scores with the interactive graph below.