Not to keep harping on it, just providing a public service by supplying a bit of For Your Information (FYI).
The latest AIA Architectural Billing Index has been released for May, and it ain't pretty. On the heels of the "Rocky Balboa Recession" thread, here are some additional quantifiable numbers that caused those unemployment numbers. Performed monthly (and not always painting the rosy picture like some other trade organization we all know...wink, wink.), the ABI is perhaps the best and most direct measure of the health of the building arts; the pulse of the AEC industry, as it were. There are other local measures, not as quanitifable, such as local firms that have started to contract, jettesoning employees when the work runs out (as is happening around here, again).
For those who are not familiar, the ABI is charted on a scale of 0 to 100, with 50 being no change, positive or negative. A number below 50 indicated contraction, while a number above 50 indicates growth. As you can see in the chart below (the blue line is the ABI, the red are inquiries), there had been some moderate growth for a few months, followed by a increasingly steep decline to a score of 45.8, the lowest since February, and the second lowest it has been in a full year. The inquiries for new work are at their lowest point in a year. No doubt, the mild winter an early spring had some effect on the numbers, as the usual summer slowdown is occuring early in May and June.
For the original article and additional charts and breakdowns of industry types, please see:
I don't think you're "harping," actually I think when we have the means of communicating about whatever we can use to gain perspective, it can help counteract any sense of isolation or the "what's wrong with my own scene" mental state that can take hold. Of course there are general news sources with sobering information, but they focus more on trendy or less design centered issues.
I had a purely accidental and unscientific insight recently. I admit I would have to know how this looked in prior times to attach more than a speculative interpretation to it...but I was researching various state reciprocation requirements (decided against pursuing due to costs). Anyway on one state board's website you could query the current out of state LA license holders and it even showed their status. So there were people under review, denied, current etc. What struck me is how the greatest number had simply let the license lapse, as non-renewals. One name I recognized as deceased but that wouldn't be most of them (I hope!) While there could be a proportion who just had reciprocation for a single big project with no need to continue, it made me wonder if it wasn't a sign of the times. There is just less spending on such licenses due to reduced incomes and lower prospects of getting work beyond one's own area.
It would be interesting to go back and see if that changes in a recovery.
I think two states, (one I know being Florida) recently have come dangerously close to deregualting landscape architecture due to the downturn. I'm sure many individuals have put the licensing process on hold as well as memberships. ASLA has reported a 20% loss in membership since 2008.