Slowdown Hurting Architects

An index indicating architects' workload did not hit a historic low last month, as it did the four previous months, but it still indicated a contraction in the industry. The American Institute of Architects' billings index was at 35.3 (a score above 50 indicates an increase in billings), up from 33.3 in January but down from 42.6 in February 2008. The new projects inquiry score, which shows what could happen and is a less concrete indicator, was at 49.5.

The AIA says the billings index shows where the construction industry will be in nine to 12 months' time.

Architects in the Washington area, which is included in the South region, have gone from being overworked to being laid off, according to David Daileda, president of the D.C. chapter of the AIA and architecture manager for AECOM Design. He began hearing of layoffs in the fall, and they've continued through now.

Activity related to the government, however, hasn't been affected much.

"If you do a lot of government work, you're doing okay," Daileda said. "But if you do mostly private work, you're in deep trouble right now."

By Terri Rupar  |  March 26, 2009; 2:12 PM ET  | Category:  Economy Watch
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