Finally, some stats regarding how many jobs at architecture firms have vanished in recent years due to the economic downturn. It's as bad as we thought. 

During today's plenary session at the AIA convention, the institute's chief economist, Kermit Baker, revealed that approximately 60,000 (!!) payroll jobs have been eliminated at U.S. architecture firms since the recession began in December 2007—that’s 28 percent of the pre-recession workforce at firms. Of those 60,000 jobs, about 36,000 were held by architects, the AIA estimates. 

Other design professions have endured similar losses: landscape architecture, 34 percent; interior design, 31 percent; building contractors, 21 percent. “The downturn hit with a vengeance,” Baker said.

But don’t despair. Baker does see signs of improvement, particularly in the commercial and industrial sectors. The billings index has hovered above 50 since last fall (April was an exception). “The billings index is the best indicator we have that conditions are continuing to improve,” he said. Plus, in a recent survey, four out of 10 firms said they have hired people this year or plan to do so. 

How is your firm faring? Are conditions improving? Please comment below -- we want to hear from you.