The number of unemployed architects has fallen for the first time in 16 months – another signal the recession could have bottomed out
Last month 1,975 architects claimed unemployment benefit, representing a significant drop from the recorded peak of 2,055 in August. The fall also marks the end of almost a year and a half of month-on-month increases in unemployment which kicked-off in May 2008 and has continued to snowball in line with the recession.
The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) mean that 6 per cent of registered architects are now unemployed; the figure was closer to 7 per cent last month.
‘ [These statistics] fit in with the emerging picture from our Future Trends survey, namely that the workload situation has stabilised for architects albeit it at a much reduced level from 12 months ago - down by nearly a quarter,’ said Adrian Dobson, the RIBA’s director of practice (click here for Future Trends story) .
‘[However] Around 2000 unemployed architects is still a large number in relation to the overall size of the profession,’ added Dobson.
‘The unemployment figures do not of course reveal the significant under-employment of architects who are still practising, with 29% of respondents to our Future Trends survey reporting that they are currently personally under-employed’.
‘This seems like further evidence that the recession has bottomed-out in the architectural sector, but not yet a strong indication of a return to growth,’ added Dobson.
The news comes as industry tracker Glenigan posted figures showing that the number of schemes going on hold each had also dropped in recent months.
Phillip Veitch of Bradford-based Waller & Partners said: ‘It certainly seems as though things have levelled off . I don’t think the profession in general is out of the woods just yet but those of us who saw it coming are getting ready to unbatten the hatches’.