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Strong Rebound for Architectural Billings Index

The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) returned to positive territory after a slight dip in August, and has seen growth in six of the nine months of 2015. As an economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to 12 month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the September ABI score was 53.7, up from a mark of 49.1 in August. This score reflects an increase in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 61.0, down from a reading of 61.8 the previous month.

“Aside from uneven demand for design services in the Northeast, all regions are project sectors are in good shape,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “Areas of concern are shifting to supply issues for the industry, including volatility in building materials costs, a lack of a deep enough talent pool to keep up with demand, as well as a lack of contractors to execute design work.”

Key September ABI highlights:

Regional averages: South (54.5), Midwest (54.2), West (51.7), Northeast (43.7)

Sector index breakdown: mixed practice (52.6), institutional (51.5), commercial / industrial (50.9) multi-family residential (49.5)

Project inquiries index: 61.0

Design contracts index: 53.2

The regional and sector categories are calculated as a 3-month moving average, whereas the national index, design contracts and inquiries are monthly numbers.



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NCARB Unveils New Tool to Help Architects Prep for Exam

The Transition Calculator for the Architect Registration Examination (ARE) will help licensure candidates transition from ARE 4.0 to ARE 5.0.

A tool to assist architects in transitioning from the current licensing exam to the new version debuting in late 2016 has been unveiled by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). NCARB released a Transition Calculator tool for the Architect Registration Examination (ARE) that will help licensure candidates transition from ARE 4.0 to ARE 5.0. A version of the nationally used exam, ARE 5.0, will launch in late 2016 and run concurrently with ARE 4.0 until June 2018 to allow candidates to select the transition plan that works best.

The ARE is a multi-division test developed by NCARB and taken by all candidates seeking architectural registration in the United States. The release of ARE 5.0 will be the latest update to the exam.

When determining how to transition candidates to ARE 5.0, NCARB developed options that will help candidates when making a plan:

Dual Delivery. ARE 4.0 will continue to be available after ARE 5.0 launches in late 2016. Candidates will be able to transition anytime during the period of dual delivery up until ARE 4.0 is retired on June 30, 2018.

Self-Transition. ARE candidates who began the testing process in ARE 4.0 will have the option to “self-transition” to ARE 5.0 as soon as it launches—or at any time before ARE 4.0 is retired. This will allow candidates to continue testing in the version that is most convenient for them. Once a candidate begins to test in ARE 5.0, however, they may not transition back to ARE 4.0.

Tools and Resources. NCARB is introducing more interactive tools and resources as the launch of ARE 5.0 approaches. NCARB representatives are available to help candidates determine the best strategy for the transition. In addition, the ARE 5.0 Transition Calculator has been created to assist licensure candidates immediately.



NCARB has designed the ARE 5.0 Transition Calculator to help candidates develop a personalized testing strategy. Candidates can log in through their My NCARB account to import their current testing status to the calculator. 

The calculator will help candidates develop a personalized testing plan. It also shows how the test divisions used in ARE 4.0 will evolve in the ARE 5.0 test structure, to help any candidate plan for successfully completing their test taking. For candidates who have already begun testing, the calculator will help track exam expiration dates for individual divisions so that they can complete the ARE within five years.

The calculator is used in conjunction with NCARB’s Credit Model to determine which plan works best for each individual.

Practicing architects, who volunteer to serve on NCARB’s Examination Committee, partner with a test development consultant to review the content covered in each of the divisions of ARE 4.0 and ARE 5.0 to find a reasonable level of alignment. As a result, candidates have the opportunity to receive credit for ARE 5.0 divisions based on ARE 4.0 divisions passed.  

For more information on the ARE 5.0 Calculator visit: For the ARE 5.0, visit: 



Tagged in: Architect License
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Nationwide Job Openings Increased 2.89% in April

Job listings in the U.S. rose 2.89% month-to-month in April, up from month-to-month increases of 1.38% in March and 2.47% in February, according to Simply Hired's April 2015 U.S. Employment Outlook.

Twenty-four of the Top 25 major metro areas saw an increase in job listings, and there were nearly 20% more full-time permanent entry-level positions available than the same time last year.

About 5% of all job listings were targeted at new college graduates, which includes entry level drafters and technicians, as well as Intern Architects and Engineers in Training (EITs).

Job openings increased in 24 of the 25 largest U.S. metros in April 2015. Pittsburgh and the Seattle and Tacoma, WA, area experienced the largest month-to-month gains at 5.27% and 4.94%, respectively. A notable exception was Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN, which saw a small dip in job openings (-0.29%) over this period.

With a hyper competitive AEC job market and extended time-to-fill statistics, rely on AEC Resources to help you quickly secure high caliber candidates for your open positions. We excel in providing temp help and recruiting for architects, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, structural engineering and civil engineering. 


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Thank you for visiting the AEC Resources blog. You may have noticed that we have a new website, and with a new website comes new and very relevant blogs relating to hiring within architecture, engineering and construction firms. Our blog entries have information relevant for both employers and job seekers alike. 

From an employer's perspective, we encourage you to visit our blog often for news relating to temp staffing and evolving recruiting solutions for architecture, engineering and construction companies. Hiring trends and best practices are covered.

Job seekers will find a plethora of information that will assist in the daunting task of uncovering and pursuing new career opportunities.

AEC Resources is a leading provider of staffing and recruiting services for AEC firms nationwide.

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