The ABI is considered a nine to twelve month leading indicator of construction activity.
The May ABI was 42.9, virtually identical to April's 42.8 mark. The score (under 50) indicates a continuing decline in demand for design services. In March the index was 43.7.
Inquiries for new projects continued in positive territory in May for the third straight month. That score was 55.2.
However, the higher level of inquiries isn't showing as additional billings because, "the design and construction marketplace is extremely competitive right now," explained Kermit Baker, AIA chief economist. "Prospective clients are casting a wider net causing numerous firms to bid for the same project, which is why the high level of inquiries is not necessarily translating into additional billings for project work at many firms."