The number of architects claiming job seekers’ allowance has dropped slightly for the first time in three months
There are now 840 people receiving unemployment benefits and stating their usual occupation as architect.
Falling from 845 in August, the small decrease mirrored the drop in the overall level of UK unemployment fell by 50,000 to 2.53 million.
The current total is slightly above December 2008’s level but significantly below the record high of 2,055 in August 2009. The figure however fails to take account of architects unable to claim benefits and those forced to take up work in alternative fields.
The RIBA Future Trends survey has meanwhile seen an increase in architects’ optimism regarding workloads.
Increasing from 0 to +4, the institute’s workloads index indicates architects now expect workloads to remain relatively stable in the short term. Significant growth is however not anticipated by the profession in the next quarter, according to the survey.
Large and medium-sized practices remain most optimistic with architects in London and the South of England also more positive about the future.
The RIBA staffing index meanwhile fell three points from 0 in the previous month to -3 in August.
RIBA director of practice Adrian Dobson said: ‘The architect’s profession, with a significant proportion of its input being at the front end of the construction procurement process, is a good bellwether for how workloads and staffing levels are going to fare for the wider construction industry in the coming months.
He added: ‘Although workloads for architects appear to have stabilised, the overall global economy remains depressed and we can expect conditions for architectural work to stay challenging; improvement in the broader construction industry looks set to remain sluggish.’
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