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Architectural Billings Post Sharp Decline in March

The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) in March dropped 20.1 points from February to 33.3, the biggest single month decrease in the index’s nearly 25-year history, according to The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Economics & Market Research Group. Design contracts in March also fell sharply, falling 24.9 points to 27.1. March billings declined across all regions, with the Northeast faring the worst due to construction shutdowns within its major cities caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Firms in all specializations saw lower billings in March, with institutional-specialized firms impacted the least due to increased demand for healthcare facilities.

The ABI is produced from the AIA’s monthly Work-on-the-Boards survey, which measures whether architectural firms’ “billings increased, decreased, or stayed the same for the month ended.” A score lower than 50 indicates a decline in billings from the preceding period. See AIA

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