Shared Screenshot Aia June2021 Abi

AIA Billings Index Still Seeing Robust Growth

July 24, 2021
Despite inflationary headwinds and contractor concerns, architecture firms are still reporting balanced growth in all regions and all building sectors.


WASHINGTON – July 21, 2021 – Architecture firms reported increasing demand for design services in June according to a new report released today from the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Its monthly Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score for June remained at an elevated level of 57.1 (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings).

During June, the new design contracts score also remained positive at 58.9 but was not quite as strong as the 63.2 reading in May. New project inquiries logged another near-record high score at 71.8, compared to 69.2 in May. 

 “With the current pace of billings growth near the highest levels ever seen in the history of the index, we’re expecting a sharp upturn in nonresidential building activity later this year and into 2022,” said AIA Chief Economist  Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “However, as is often the case when market conditions make a sudden reversal, concerns are growing about architecture firms not being able to find enough workers to meet the higher workloads. Nearly six in 10 firms report that they are having problems filling open architectural staff positions.” 

Of note, this difficulty rises to 80% of large firms with annual billings of $5 million or more. Firms located in the Midwest and Northeast, and those with an institutional specialization, were also more likely to report problems filling positions, according to the latest ABI. Just 12% of firms overall reported that they are not having any problems filling open positions, while 27% reported that they don’t currently have any open positions.

Regarding the market, in general, one survey participant from a 140-person commercial/industrial design firm on the West Coast said, "We are experiencing some thawing in the pipeline, and are hopeful that a couple of our largest COVID-interrupted projects will come back to life in the coming weeks."

Key ABI highlights for June include:

  • Regional averages: Midwest (62.0); West (59.7); South (57.3); Northeast (53.2)
  • Sector index breakdown: commercial/industrial (61.0); multi-family residential (57.9); institutional (57.3); mixed practice (56.4)
  • Project inquiries index: 71.8
  • Design contracts index: 58.9

The regional and sector categories are calculated as a three-month moving average, whereas the national index, design contracts and inquiries are all monthly numbers.

For more ABI information, visit, or contact Matt Tinder, [email protected].


Founded in 1857, AIA consistently works to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through more than 200 international, state and local chapters, AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public wellbeing.AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation, and world. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards.