AIGA's Design Leaders Confidence Index was unchanged for the first quarter of 2013, at 101.62 compared to the previous quarter's 101.72. While the aggregate number is not statistically different, there is optimism in the details: responses to specific questions within the survey suggest confidence that both the general economy and the design economy are improving.
Only 6.1 percent of respondents believe the economy as a whole has worsened in the past six months, with slightly more (6.7 percent) estimating that the design economy was worse in March than it had been in October. More than half of respondents (56 percent) believe the general economy has improved moderately or substantially, while 51.3 percent provided the same positive assessment for the demand for design.
Looking ahead, 59.8 percent of respondents believe the national economy will improve moderately or substantially over the next six months; only 2.8 percent feared it would worsen. As for design, nearly as many felt the demand for design services would also improve by October (55.6 percent). Only 3.4 percent thought it would worsen, and then only moderately.
In terms of hiring and growth, those professing the same or an increased likelihood of hiring additional staff today (compared with three months ago) is nearly universal at 88.8 percent. Roughly 93 percent believe their likelihood of investing in hardware and software is also the same or better.