When it comes to weather, March is usually in like a lion and out like a lamb—and when it comes to architectural firms’ billings, the month is typically all lion, showing strong gains. But not this March, according to the American Institute of Architects’ Architectural Billings Index, which tracked only a partial rise in activity over February. The ABI grew just 0.1 point, to 52.6 (any score above 50, though, indicates growth).
March’s modest increase could indicate that the market was catching its breath after a stronger showing than usual earlier in the year. Another indicator that activity remains healthy was the number of inquiries made to architecture firms, which also held steady.
The AIA compiles its ABI based on surveys sent to 300 firm leaders primarily in the commercial design sector. Studies have shown that the index is a good predictor for construction spending nine to 12 months in the future.