I remain positive that we have turned a corner and the economy is slowly coming back. We are once again busy after a slow month in May, so I hope that this is just a delay in reporting:
- Business conditions at U.S. architecture firms slipped again in May, with a national ABI score of 47.2. This second straight significant decline came on the heels of five months of recovery. A separate reading of inquiries for new project activity also is of concern. At 52.6, this index points to modest increases in inquiries, but the pace of growth is the slowest that it has been in almost two years.
- Regionally, the steepest decline in design activity has been at firms in the Northeast and Midwest. Recent declines in the South and West have been more modest. By construction sector, the recent falloff has been felt more intensely by firms working in the commercial/industrial and institutional sectors. Residential firms, on the other hand, have benefited from a resurgence in multifamily activity, and continue to report improvement in design activity
- Plans to expand: Most architecture firms anticipate fairly dramatic changes in strategic direction as the profession emerges from this downturn. At least half of firms expect to expand the geographic area that they serve, the architecture services they offer clients, or the facility types (e.g. education, retail) they design.