Online job ads for architects up 20% over year
Online job advertisements for architects rose 20 percent during the last 90 days compared to the same time period in 2012, according to Wanted Analytics, a firm that tracks online job ads. There were a total of more than 16,000 architect jobs advertised in the past 90 days.
New York, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., San Francisco and Houston topped the list of metropolitan areas with the most job ads for architects.
“Autodesk AutoCAD” was the most commonly required skill in architect jobs. In the past 90 days, 5,500 jobs required CAD skills, representing about 35 percent of all hiring demand.
The most commonly required skills in architecture jobs include:
Autodesk REVIT Architecture
Oral and written communication skills
Watch a new CCTV America video from the AIA.org website that highlights 7 consecutive months of gains in the industry
Temporary hiring takes center stage
U.S. temporary employment jumped by 20,300 jobs in March, compared with the previous month, and the year-over-year growth rate ticked up, according to seasonally adjusted numbers released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition, the number of temp jobs added in February was revised upward by 22,000 jobs.
Year-over-year growth in temp jobs had been decelerating since November. However, the number of temp jobs rose by 6.4 percent year over year in March, up from the 5.3 percent increase in February.
Further, the U.S. temp penetration rate rose to 1.94 percent in March from 1.93 percent in February.
However, the U.S. added fewer jobs overall in March than February. Total non-farm employment rose by 88,000 jobs in March compared with an increase of 218,000 in February – Sending a clear signal that firms are exercising caution, temporary hires outpaced permanent hires for the same period.
The U.S. unemployment rate still fell to 7.6 percent in March from 7.7 percent in February. The college-level unemployment rate, which can serve as a proxy for professional employment, was unchanged from February at 3.8 percent.
In other industries, construction added 18,000 jobs in March. The BLS reported construction has added 169,000 jobs since September.
Click on the chart below to enlarge.
Click on the chart below to enlarge.
This post is a composite of articles from Staffing Industry Analysts and AIA.org websites
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Architects, along with land planners and civil engineers, are involved in the beginning stages of a project, so they are among the first to feel a recession — and a recovery.
It’s too early to say whether a recovery is at hand. But the downward spiral could be over, some industry experts say.
“It seems we are pulling out of it,” Farmer said. “We’re seeing increasing revenues, and we’re starting to see a little bit of profit.”
What’s more, the American Institute of Architects, after seeing five consecutive monthly declines in activity, reported a sudden upturn of activity in August in its billings index.
The index provides a nine- to 12-month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending, or a glimpse into the future of commercial construction activity.
“Based on the poor economic conditions over the last several months, this turnaround in demand for design services is a surprise,” said Kermit Baker, chief economist of the architects’ trade organization.
“Many firms are still struggling, and continue to report that clients are having difficulty getting financing for viable projects, but it’s possible we’ve reached the bottom of the down cycle.”
The index is centered on 50, with scores above 50 indicating an aggregate increase in billings and scores below indicating a decline.
In July, the index score was 45.1, the steepest decline in bbillings since February 2010, the trade organization reported. But the index reversed in August, shooting up to 51.4 percent.
Despite the recent upturn, “the extent of the (previous) decline was pretty serious,” Baker said, attributing the low index numbers to nervousness about the U.S. and global economies.
Architectural billings were improving at the end of 2010, showing stability and modest growth in the beginning of 2011, Baker said.
“There was a general sense the economy was improving and then … (the numbers) dropped off the end of the table and turned dramatically.”
Many projects are still on hold, Baker said. “Others are moving slowly and in fits and starts.”
Source: Richmond Times Dispatch
Uptick in business has them cautiously optimistic about a rebound
Some of the larger architectural firms in Aspen and Basalt have hired additional employees this spring after cutting up to half of their staffs during the recession.
Poss Architecture and Planning, Harry Teague Architects, Cottle Carr Yaw Architects and Design Workshop’s Aspen branch have each hired three or four workers in recent weeks. Partners in each firm said business is up this spring and they are bringing on additional workers to help with projects on the books.
“This year is just different from last year in a positive way,” said John Cottle, a partner with Cottle Carr Yaw Architects.
However, the owners of each of the firms said they remain very cautious about the business outlook because there is so much uncertainty beyond the next year or so. Bill Poss said 2007 and 2008 were the best years in his firm’s 35-year history. He doesn’t expect business to return to that level in some time. On the other hand, any uptick in business over 2010 is welcomed.
“Last year was pretty bad,” he said.
Architectural firms are somewhat like a canary in the coal mine for the construction industry. Projects they work on translate into work for contractors and subcontractors six months or so later. Poss said he is constantly being quizzed by friends in the construction world who want to know if his business is picking up.
The answer isn’t a simple yes or no. His firm is working on a large hotel in North Carolina that had been temporarily placed on hold when the recession hit. It is an encouraging sign that the owners have felt the economy has recovered enough that they are moving ahead with the design, Poss said. “That’s about a 12-month deal” for his firm, he said.
Poss is getting more calls this year than last year from property owners in the Roaring Fork Valley who are considering building homes. While the interest is encouraging, he noted that “nobody’s pulled the trigger, so to speak.”
Consumers of architectural services, like consumers of all types, are shopping for the best prices. His firm has reduced its prices, which required it to cut costs. That meant laying off employees after the recession struck, and cutting salaries for the remaining staff.
Poss said he and his partners recently hired three more drafting people and interns and are considering hiring a fourth person. Even so, the firm isn’t anywhere close to where it was three years ago in terms of the staff count when it employed 56 people. That fell to about 22 at the lowest point and is now creeping back toward 30 workers, he said.
Poss said business has always been cyclical. He has experienced a downturn every five to seven years. This downturn was different because it was so severe and long. He said laying off so many employees was unpleasant because it had so many consequences.
“I had to lay off 30 families, not just individuals,” he said.
Harry Teague, another longtime veteran architect in Aspen, said it has been common over the years for the staffs of architectural firms to expand and contract, depending on the firm’s number of projects. Employees who were laid off from one firm could usually find work with another.
“The roller coaster is not particularly unique to this time” he said.
What was different in this cycle is that business dropped off for virtually all firms at once, according to Teague. That was tough because people who were laid off had a tough time finding new jobs with different firms.
Teague said his firm’s work is also picking up this year so he has hired four people, boosting the total to 12. He described the positions he hired for as a mix of architects, project managers and designers as well as interns.
Teague’s firm is working on a project at the Aspen Music School campus on Castle Creek Road, including the replacement of a building that can no longer be used. His firm is also designing a school in Crestone, Colo., a home in Telluride and a home in the Roaring Fork Valley. He is also the architect for a river center proposed by the Roaring Fork Conservancy in Basalt. That project is scheduled to be reviewed by the Basalt Town Council and Basalt Planning and Zoning Commission on Tuesday.
Overall, Teague said, it does feel as though the level of activity is increasing.
Cottle said his firm is staying busy with a combination of local, regional and even international projects, a combination of residential and commercial.
“Aspen is stronger than most of the other places where we work,” he said.
The firm is receiving more calls of inquiry so far this year compared to the last couple of years, he said. Cottle is encouraged because potential clients are exploring a variety of projects and seem serious about moving ahead.
The firm recently added four positions, one permanent and three tied to current projects, Cottle said. It’s too soon to tell if business has truly turned around, so he and his partners will remain cautious with their projections and with their hiring. Cottle said they don’t want to get in a position of hiring workers for permanent positions only to lay them off again. That’s rough on everybody, he said.
Cottle Carr Yaw employed 38 workers from 2000 through the end of 2008 and intentionally didn’t expand beyond that point. They laid off roughly half the staff during the lean last couple of years and are back to 20 employees with the recent hires.
Kurt Culbertson, chairman of the board for Design Workshop, said the firm hired two entry-level workers and two mid-level experience workers in its Aspen office within the last six months. The position were for landscape architects. They are looking to fill another two positions.
The firm — which also has offices in Denver, Tahoe, Austin, Salt Lake City, and Asheville, N.C. — works on everything from resort planning to residential gardens. The Aspen office is benefiting from an increase in business overseas as well as domestically and in the Roaring Fork Valley, according to Culbertson. He said some potential clients are even looking into real estate development, which has been on hold for the last couple of years.
Culbertson said the Aspen office of Design Workshop reduced its staff by about half after the recession.
“It hasn’t been fine times,” he said.
He’s been with the firm through five recessions, this one being the worst. The name of the game is living to fight another day.
“You can’t hire people back if you’re not in business,” Culbertson said.
Via The Aspen Times
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