In April, we release our Top Contractor rankings, in which we gather surveys filled out by contractors throughout the region that show us their regional revenue numbers from the previous year. Come August, we do the same with specialty contractors. In October, we turn our eye toward design and architecture firms.

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These numbers represent a quick way to show our readers what may be going elsewhere, outside the walls of their own firms. In the top design rankings that begin on page 51 of this issue we see some interesting trends. Most of them, though, reflect what we already know: times are tough.

For instance, the total regional revenue for the top-ranked firm this year dropped to $402 million from $514 million last year. Additionally, the 125th-ranked spot saw its dollar total be cut almost in half from last year’s rankings.

One of the most glaring (and frightening) developments was in the Architecture category where Perkins Eastman, which was the top-ranked firm both this and last year, saw its regional revenue drop from almost $100 million to just less than $47 million. Many of the numbers we got this year revealed the same thing: 2009 was much worse than 2008.

We’re encouraged by the cautious optimism we heard about 2011 from our sources in the design world. But at the same time, we can only hope to see some degree of positive change when these same rankings are published next year.

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