Crain’s Chicago Business asks a good question: “Is it finally a good time to be an architect?” The story, by Micah Maidenberg, picks up on an encouraging trend in the architecture billings index. Both nationally and in the Midwest, architecture billings are back above 50, the threshold that denotes growth. In 2008, both tanked to about 35.
During that time the number of architects in Chicago also dropped 33 percent, from 9,800 to 6,600 at the lowest point in March 2011. That’s slightly higher than the 31 percent drop nationally. It has since risen above 7,000.
Average base pay for starting architects, however, has mirrored another, less encouraging national trend: wage stagnation. Entry-level architects in metro Chicago made 3.7 percent less in 2011 than in 2008. Experienced architects saw their salaries rise 9 percent on average over that time period.