ABI, a leading economic indicator of construction activity, suggests design services on the rise.

Positive conditions across geographic regions and project sectors has led to an increase in demand for design services, as signaled in the latest report from the Architecture Billings Index (ABI). Reflecting the nine- to twelve-month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending, the ABI is a leading economic indicator of construction activity.

The monthly Architectural Billings Index (ABI) from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) showed a score of 51.9 in March, an upswing from the previous month’s score of 50.3, which ends the year’s first quarter on a positive note. Contract Design reports:

“The first quarter was somewhat disappointing in terms of the growth of design activity, but fortunately expanded a bit entering the traditionally busy spring season,” explains AIA chief economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA. “The Midwest is lagging behind the other regions, but otherwise, business conditions are generally healthy across the country.”

The monthly report also indicates that the new projects inquiry index dropped from 59.5 in February to 58.1 in March. Additionally, the design contracts index showed a slight jump to 51.8 in March. The regional average for the Midwest dropped slightly to 49.8 in March, but the South, Northeast and West reported higher scores of 52.4, 51.0 and 50.4, respectively.

Want to know more about the numbers? Read the entire report.