AIGA's Design Leaders Confidence Index dropped slightly in the third quarter of 2013 to settle at 95.94, down from the previous quarter's 100.02. This economic confidence measure of the design industry had been steady at about 100 for a full year.
At the same time, design leaders are optimistic about a solid (if not growing) future: only 9.4 percent believe the general economy will be worse over the next six months. They are even more confident in the design economy, which only 7.1 percent believe will be weaker in six months than it is today.
Over half, 53.4 percent, believe the economy will be moderately or substantially better in six months, and 51.1 percent expect the prospects for design to improve over the next six months (the balance expect no change). This is consistent with economists' observations of a slow but steady recovery.
In terms of hiring and growth, virtually all respondents believed that the likelihood of hiring additional staff and purchasing new equipment is the same or greater today than it was three months ago. Only 16 percent believe that the chances of hiring staff today is worse than it was on July 1, 2013, and 11.3 percent believe they are less likely to purchase hardware and software than at the beginning of last quarter.