The American Institute of Architects’ Architectural Billings Index (ABI) is a good leading indicator of construction activity that is published each month.

It is compiled nationally, regionally, and by sector, and generally predicts conditions in the market in the next six to nine months. Values above 50 indicate growth, while values below 50 indicate a decline.

The ABI has slowly begun to decline, although the overall value still predicts growth. It is currently hovering around 53. The Northeast is the only region that is expected to contract, and even then, just barely. Growth remains strongest in the West, as the region remains in need of new residential developments. The South and Midwest are all expected to see modest growth, although forecasts are down from previous months.

Like regional indexes, three market sectors – industrial/commercial, institutional, and residential – began to decline in April. The institutional market finally stopped contracting in late March and now reaches 53 as its most recent value. The industrial/commercial markets have been contracting and have all converged on the same value.

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