The group's monthly Architectural Billings Index (ABI) is considered a leading economic indicator of construction activity approximately nine to twelve months is the future.
The May ABI was 47.2, below the index figure of 50 which indicates rising billings, and down slightly from the previous month (47.6). However the ABI fell nearly three points in April. The Index has declined 6.7 points since December (53.9).
The new projects inquiry index was 52.6, down from a mark of 55.0 in April, its lowest level in almost a year and a half.
"Whatever positive momentum that there had been seen in late 2010 and earlier this year has disappeared," said, Kermit Baker, AIA chief economist. "The broader economy looks to be entering another soft spot, and certainly state budget constraints are adversely affecting the profession's ability to work on institutional projects. But there is no denying that the prolonged credit freeze from lenders for financing commercial projects is the number one challenge to a recovery for the design and construction industry."