A critical economic bellwether is showing tentative signs of recovery.
The American Institute of Architects' latest Architecture Billings Index shows a slight improvement in business conditions, although work is still slowing. The report is considered a bellwether for built environment professions, including planning, as well as the larger economy.
An article published by Building Enclosure provides insight into the report's findings, which updates data through the first month of 2021: "AIA’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score for January was 44.9* compared to 42.3 in December (any score below 50 indicates a decline in firm billings). Last month’s score indicates overall revenue at U.S architecture firms continued to decline from December to January, however, the pace of decline slowed."
The AIA's Architecture Billings Index breaks down the financial data by region. By geography, the South is performing best, relative to other regions, with an index of 47.4. The worst performing, the Northeast, had an index of 41.9 in January 2021.
Checking in with the ABI throughout the past year, Planetizen noted the state of the ABI as important junctures of the pandemic economic downturn, including a strong sector just previous to the shutdowns and economic downturn in Spring 2020, the eventual collapse of business as the pandemic lingered, and the first signs of a potential recovery in the fall of 2020.
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