Slowdown in U.S. architecture billings continues in December

The design industry endured its first double-dip in billings in well over a year to cap off 2013.

According to the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Architecture Billings Index (ABI), December saw demand for design services decline for the second month in a row, marking the first time contraction followed in consecutive months since May and June 2012.

Architecture billings 2013

From November to December 2013, the ABI score fell from 49.8 to 48.5, reflecting a decrease in demand for architecture services.

The December contraction ends an otherwise positive year, one that registered growth in billings in all but three months. Despite ending on a negative note, the overall strength in billings for the year mirrors the growth in jobs for architects throughout 2013.

Architecture billings_sector 2013

“What we thought last month was an isolated dip now bears closer examination to see what is causing the slowdown in demand for architectural services,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD.

“It is possible that some of this can be attributed to the anxiety in the marketplace caused by the shutdown of the federal government, but it will be important to see how business conditions fare through the first quarter of the new year when we no longer have end of the year issues to deal with.”

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