"Over the past several years, a period of sustained growth in billings has been followed by a temporary step backwards," said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker. "The fact that project inquiries and new design contracts continue to grow at a healthy pace suggests that this should not be a cause for concern throughout the design and construction industry."
The ABI reflects the time between architecture billings and construction spending for commercial real estate, which is approximately nine to twelve months. Another index of new projects inquiries also fell in August, although it was still positive.
"I do think that volatility is the issue, just like we're seeing in a lot of the markets across the country. We're not seeing a normal incline in terms of activity. It shoots ahead and then it catches its breath," said Baker.
He also points to hurdles facing builders, which include high material costs and labor shortages.