Dropped from 1,220 in October 2010 to 1,030 last month

The number of architects claiming unemployment benefit has fallen 16% in a year to 1,030 last month, according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).  

The figures show the number of claimants in October 2010 was 1,220, with numbers continuing to decline over recent months with 1,145 in August and 1,105 in September.

While this could be seen as a measure of job market recovery, architects’ confidence in their employment prospects remains low. The RIBA’s Future Trends Survey for October failed to find a single practice that predicted an increase in staffing over the next quarter.

Brian Waters, immediate past president of the Association of Consultant Architects, said architects’ perceptions will recover more slowly than workloads themselves. “I think you feel the moment rather than trust the future,” he said.

“When you’re coming out of [a recession] and you’re still hurting from redundancies, you can’t really trust that the trend is up.”

Construction economist Brian Green said the unemployment drop might also reflect architects becoming self-employed, undertaking further training, failing to claim benefit entitlements - or simply leaving the sector altogether.