Man planting tree. © Leslie Banks | Dreamstime.com http://www.dreamstime.com/-image22455501
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A majority of landscape architecture firms, 75.3 percent, told the ASLA Business Quarterly survey for Q4 2011 that they do not expect to hire during the first quarter of 2012. While the number was high, it too is an improvement on the third quarter, when 81.3 percent said they were not hiring. (Photo © Leslie Banks | Dreamstime.com)

Landscape architects are cautiously optimistic about their business prospects during 2012, according to a report from the American Society of Landscape Architects.

Almost 30 percent of respondents to the American Society of Landscape Architects’ fourth quarter Business Quarterly survey reported billable hours as slightly (plus 5 to 10 percent) or significantly (10 percent-plus) higher in fourth quarter when compared to the previous quarter. Nearly 35 percent reported billable hours as about the same (plus or minus 5 percent). This is down from the previous quarter, which showed 32.4 percent as slightly or significantly improved and 33 percent as stable.

Just about 32 percent, averaged over the country’s four regions, said inquiries for their services improved somewhat or significantly from the third quarter of 2011 to the fourth. Most of those surveyed expected business conditions to stay the same, or improve during 2012. Concerning employment, a majority of about 55 percent said they expected prospects to remain the same, while close to 34 percent said they expected prospects to improve. A minority of 11 percent said they expected prospects to worsen.

Across the country, the West showed the lowest numbers for both billings and inquiries with 20.5 percent and 25.4 percent, respectively. Billing increases from the third quarter 2011 to the fourth were second lowest in the Northeast after the West, but inquiries in the Northeast came in second place overall at 34.5 percent.

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