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Architectural Billings Index hits record low in May

The American Institute of Architects Architectural Billings Index, which forecasts demand for non-residential architectural services in the US, dropped to a record low of 45.8 in May. It is the first time the index dropped below 50 in 5 months. A score below 50 indicates a decrease in the demand for design services.

"For the second year in a row, we’re seeing declines in springtime design activity after a healthy first quarter. Given the ongoing uncertainly in the economic outlook, particularly the weak job growth numbers in recent months, this should be an alarm bell going off for the design and construction industry,” Kermit Baker, AIA chief economist, said. “The commercial/industrial sector is the only one recording gains in design activity at present, and even this sector has slowed significantly. Construction forecasters will have to reassess what conditions will look like moving forward.”

The billing index for commercial projects was at 50.7 compared to 48.9 for multi-family work. The Northeast region, which includes New York City, posted the highest billings index of any of the four regions, registering a 48.6.

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