Although billable hours and inquiries for new work were reported to decrease, landscape architects responding to the American Society of Landscape Architects’ Business Quarterly survey claim that they plan to ramp up their hiring plans. ASLA’s report accounts for the final quarter of 2016.

While results showed that 77.12 percent of respondents claimed “stable to significantly higher billable hours,” that figure shows a decrease from the 78.38 percent reported in the previous quarter. Still, it remains higher than fourth-quarter reports for the previous four years (2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012).

According to the ASLA report, “The majority of firms with two or more employees (57.33 percent) says they plan to hire during the first quarter of 2017, a jump from the third quarter 2016 survey (47.95 percent). This result is well above the numbers reported for 2015 (51.42), 2014 (50.63), 2013 (48.5) and 2012 (37.05). Additionally, some 57.90 percent of firms with more than 100 employees say they will hire either an experienced landscape architect or an entry-level landscape architect.

“The survey also asked respondents to provide feedback about business conditions for 2017. Fully 34.04 percent of survey participants believe that business conditions in 2017 will be better than 2016, while 47.34 percent believe conditions will be the same. Some 9.04 percent believe conditions will be worse.

The majority of respondents (47.09 percent) stated they are more optimistic regarding the general business climate in 2017 for the landscape architecture profession. Fully 34.92 percent say their level of optimism remains the same, and 13.23 percent say they are less optimistic.”