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Number of architects claiming benefits rises by 760 per cent

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that the number of architects claiming unemployment benefit has increased faster than any other profession

According to the ONS statistics, published in the Guardian today (20 March), the number of architects claiming benefit between February 2008 and February 2009 rose by 760 per cent, from 150 to 1,290.

The second biggest increase was among architectural technologists and town-planning technicians. Other jobs related to the construction industry such as surveyors, engineers and scaffolders all feature prominently in those professions that have seen the biggest increases.

RIBA president Sunand Prasad was quoted as saying the problem was ’gigantic’, and suggested the figures represented a fraction of the reality, with figures from the RIBA Future Trends Survey revelaing that 30 per cent of architects surveyed in February were currently unemployed or under-employed.

Prasad added: ‘The biggest danger is that we lose people that don’t come back and we are unprepared when the recovery does happen. In the early Nineties we lost a whole generation who went on to do other things and that’s noticeable in the profession now.’

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