US Architecture Firm Billings: April 2015

US Architecture Firm Billings: April 2015

After a soft 1Q resulting largely from severe weather across parts of the Northeast and Midwest, expectations were that design billings at architecture firms would rebound in 2Q, said the American Institute of Architects May 20. At 48.8, the April ABI national score reflected a steeper retrenchment than any of the first three months of the year.
However, the April report does hold out hope that business conditions at architecture firms will recover nicely as the year progresses. The new project inquiry score came in at 60.1 for the month, the strongest reading in six months, while the new design contract index score was 53.1, signifying the strongest growth for new work coming into firms since last November.
Regionally, firms in the Northeast reported another month of steep declines, with an ABI reading for April of 43.2, the eighth straight month that scores have been below 50 in this region. Firms in the Midwest reported essentially flat business conditions, just as they have each month so far this year. Firms in the South are seeing very healthy conditions, while those in the West have seen steady gains over the past two months, after reporting weakness in January and February.
Weak business conditions in April, coming on top of a generally disappointing 1Q for the year, have not diminished firms’ expansion plans for the year. Just over half of firms surveyed this month indicate that they plan to add one or more architectural positions over the coming year. Of the firms planning on adding positions, 78 per cent are planning to increase full-time staff, 20 per cent plan to add part-time staff, and 24 per cent plan to add contract or temporary staff.

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