Billings at architecture firms continue to fall with another drop in July, marking the fifth consecutive month of declines, according to the American Institute of Architects. The July architecture billings index slid to 45.1 from 46.3 the prior month in the steepest drop since February 2010, according to the AIA. Any score higher than 50 indicates increased billings. The index reflects the nine- to 12-month lag between architecture billings and construction spending. "Business conditions for architecture firms have turned down sharply," said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker. "Late last year and in the first couple of months of this year there was a sense that we were slowly pulling out of the downturn, but now the concern is that we haven't yet reached the bottom of the cycle. Current high levels of uncertainly in the economy don’t point to an immediate turnaround." The AIA said the new projects inquiry index for July fell to 53.7 in "a considerable slowdown" from 58.1 in their June report. The index remained below in 50 across all regions of the country and all sectors of construction. The regional average was highest in the South at 46.9, followed by the West at 46.6, the Northeast 46.4, and Midwest 44.9. The July index for commercial/industrial billings was 47.9, with institutional billings at 47.2, mixed practice at 47.1, and multifamily residential at 44.7. Write to Jason Philyaw. Follow him on Twitter: @jrphilyaw