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Good News for A/E/P & Environmental Firms

May 12, 2011

Design firms have been among the most affected by the recent recession, but new data shows that the carnage may soon be over.

While an increasing percentage of A/E/P and environment consulting firms have cut staff in recent years the percentage of firms who report layoffs in the past year actually decreased this year to 57 percent from 70 percent in 2010, according to the just released 2011 Financial Performance Survey of A/E/P & Environmental Consulting Firms, by ZweigWhite. The survey also finds that despite a slew of layoffs in recent years, the ratio of professional or technical staff to administrative staff has remained steady for the past ten years, hovering between 4.8 and 5.0 to 1. Mark Zweig, ZweigWhite’s CEO believes “The A/E/P and environmental consulting industry portends the rest of the economy. If they’re doing well, everyone else will be doing well.”

For A/E/P or environment consulting firms lost in the sea of misinformation about this volatile economy, ZweigWhite holds the compass. The 2011 Financial Performance Survey has the good news, the bad news, and everything in between, but most importantly gives the data that goes far beyond revenue and profit, to 30 different major financial performance statistics –The meat of what companies really want to know about how they compare to their peers and competitors.

In other good news, the survey reports third-party interest bearing debt to equity ratio remains at a six-year low of 0.1 to 1. This is a measure of a firm’s ability to meet its long-term obligations to financial institutions, the lower it is the better a firm’s ability to borrow. The median third-party interest bearing debt to equity ratio was 0.3 to 1 in 2004, and then dropped to 0.2 to 1 in 2005, where it stayed for the next four years until reaching its present rate in 2010.

For more information regarding The 2011 Financial Performance Survey of A/E/P & Environmental Consulting Firms, visit www.zweigwhite.com/surveys.