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Employment Plans Bump Up, and Two-thirds of Landscape Architecture Firm Respondents Predict an Improved Economy in 2013
2012-11-09

In the third-quarter 2012 American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Business Quarterly survey, year-to-year inquiries from new potential clients showed a notable increase while year-to-year billable hours held steady compared to third quarter 2011.

For the third quarter 2012, 71.5 percent of respondents reported stable to improved billable hours, while 74.0 percent reported stable or improved inquiries for new work. While improving year to year for the same period, when compared to the previous quarter, billable hours fell slightly while inquiries improved.

Year to year, 77.8 percent of firms indicated stable to improved third quarter levels in new business inquiries. Additionally, nearly three-quarters of respondents (73.9 percent) claimed steady or increased billable hours compared to Q3 2011.

Employment data in Q3 show progress over previous quarters and years. Of all firms with 10 or more employees, 42.4 percent indicated that they would be hiring in the Q4 2012. More than one quarter (26.2 percent) of firms with 10 to 49 employees will be hiring a landscape architect next quarter, either entry-level or experienced.

“Though it is still very difficult out there, we are pleased to have an improving employment picture going into the next quarter,” says Nancy Somerville, Hon. ASLA, executive vice president and CEO of ASLA. “Many firms are deeply concerned about the economy, but these data really show how resilient our profession can be.”

Even with the apparent progress in employment, the economy continues to negatively affect landscape architecture firms. An additional question, “How concerned is your firm about the economy?” revealed that a staggering 95.6 percent of firms are concerned or very concerned about the economy. Even with this apprehension, 64.9 percent of respondents predict an improved business outlook for the next year.

Key Survey Highlights:

Compared to the second quarter 2012, your third quarter 2012 billable hours were:
Significantly higher (more than 10%) – 11.4%
Slightly higher (5 to 10% higher) – 29.4%
About the same (plus or minus 5%) – 30.1%
Slightly lower (5 to 10% lower) – 13.1%
Significantly lower (more than 10%) – 15.9 %

Compared to the second quarter 2012, your third quarter 2012 inquiries for new work were:
Significantly higher (more than 10%) – 11.0%
Slightly higher (5 to 10% higher) – 29.6%
About the same (plus or minus 5%) – 33.0%
Slightly lower (5 to 10% lower) – 14.1%
Significantly lower (more than 10%) – 12.4%

Year to year, compared to the third quarter in 2011, your third quarter 2012 billable hours were:
Significantly higher (more than 10%) – 26.0%
Slightly higher (5 to 10% higher) – 25.6%
About the same (plus or minus 5%) – 21.8%
Slightly lower (5 to 10% lower) – 14.9%
Significantly lower (more than 10%) – 11.8%

Year to year, compared to the third quarter in 2011, your third quarter 2012 inquiries for new work were:
Significantly higher (more than 10%) – 19.9%
Slightly higher (5 to 10% higher) – 31.2%
About the same (plus or minus 5%) – 26.4%
Slightly lower (5 to 10% lower) – 13.0%
Significantly lower (more than 10%) – 9.6%

Do you plan on hiring any employees in the fourth quarter of 2012 (multiple answers)?
Yes, we’ll be hiring an experienced landscape architect – 6.2%
Yes, we’ll be hiring an entry-level landscape architect – 7.5%
Yes, we’ll be hiring an intern – 4.6%
Yes, we’ll be hiring support staff – 5.0%
Yes, we’ll be hiring other design/architecture/engineering staff – 6.6%
Yes, we’ll be hiring other staff – 1.7%
No, we’re not currently hiring – 77.2%

Thinking about the economy, what is your overall business outlook for 2013?
Much improved – 11.4%
Somewhat improved – 53.5%
Stalled – 26.4%
Somewhat worse – 5.4%
Much worse – 3.3%

About the Survey
The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Business Quarterly survey asks quarterly benchmarks on key statistics including billable hours, inquiries, and hiring plans. The Q3 2012 national survey was fielded October 16 to November 2, 2012, with 305 primary firm contacts responding.


 




contact

Karen T. Grajales
Manager, Public Relations 
tel: 1-202-216-2371
ktgrajales@asla.org
@ktgrajales

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