Architectural Billings Index
Architectural Billings Index: March 2021’s National Architectural Billings Index of 55.6 was up 2.3 points from February’s 53.3, which is within the expansionary zone, (>50). U.S. architecture firms specializing in multifamily residential, institutional, and commercial / industrial facilities all reported an increase in design activity in March.
The Design Contracts sub-index increased by 4.1 points to 55.7. Regional monthly scores were – South: 55.8, West: 52.8, Midwest: 56.5 and Northeast: 50.8.
The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) is a leading economic indicator that provides an approximately nine- to twelve-month glimpse into the future of nonresidential construction spending activity. The results are seasonally adjusted to allow for comparison to prior months. Scores above 50 indicate an aggregate increase in billings, and scores below 50 indicate a decline.
Figure 1 lists the overall ABI and its sub-indexes. It presents and compares monthly and 3MMA data, showing percentage point change on both a three- and 12-month basis, as well as momentum. Green denotes positive growth, while red indicates negative. National momentum, (3-month y/y minus 12-month y/y) was +23.1% while Design Contract momentum was up 24.9%. Regionally, all zones posted a positive momentum, ranging from +11.8 % in the West to +22.5% in the Northeast. The commercial / industrial, multifamily residential, and institutional sectors all posted a positive momentum.
At Gerdau we follow the ABI because it is a leading indicator of non-residential construction activity with an approximate 12-month lead-time to ground-breaking. The ABI has a proven track record and, as such, it is useful for business planning purposes.