Apparently CPSURaf, you have been in an isolation cell since November 2008 and recently released. Let me help you here and bring you as current as I can on the employment scene for all the variations in the true design professions (e.g. architects, landscape architects, urban designers and various engineering disciplines (e.g. civil,mechanical, electrical, structural) interior designers) and the equally important and supportive planning realms (e.g. urban, current and long-range, environmental, natural resources even horticulturists turned planners). We have been in what is now being referred to as the Lesser Depression (thank you Paul Krugman NYT). It used to be referred to as the Great Recession, and later on the Great Desperation.
Private sector design and planning firms around the country (no metro region was unaffected, none of them) have nearly cut themselves between 30%-50% in staffing since the real beginning (2007)of the never ending recession that was supposed to have been over in 2009. Many large to medium sized firms have been bought out or merged. The other mid to small sized firms that were not that fortunate, have become a shadow of their former selves, are now nothing more than one person home office operations with an email address and cellphone, or have entirely vaporized.
As far as planning in the public sector, the picture is equally or more bleak. There are several threads here that by now I am sure you might be catching up on, now that your free again, about the hemorraging of jobs at all levels, local, county, regional, state and now even federal. Many of the public sector agencies have purged about the same percentage of all jobs (as in the range referred to above) directly and indirectly related to planning, community development, including completely eradicated redevelopment agencies in our own fair state. Some cities in California no longer have their own employees in planning and community development and have hired stand-in mercenaries. This downsprial of this sad nationwide cycle started to really become noticeable in the summer of 2008. Their is no hopeful sign, no savior or bailout, or light at the end of any tunnel or other hole that this will reverse itself anytime soon. Best case prediction, we will start digging ourselves out around 2017, when those states that got hammered the worst and lost most of still missing 6,000,000 (an underestimate) jobs get back to their pre-2007 employment llevels.
The few public sector planning positions that are open and advertised now a days receive more applications and resumes than Google receives in one hour. Chances are, if your on the dark side of planning right now, your agency has been hit and hard. I don't care if you have no acronyms after your name or more letters then are in a can of alphabet soup, in many cases it made or still makes little difference.
For those of you who will seize on that last statement and attempt to flip it around on me, I got the CNU-A in 2008 along with many other design and planning professionals who had to surf and survive through that first tsunami of layoffs. Many, many others sought new certifications including AEP and ATP, and thought that would give them a distinct advantage. stateside, I have no idea if it did for anyone other than me. Sure I was fortunate and got interviews for some of the incredibly small number of jobs available then (2008) and the ones that are even in shorter supply now. Unfortunately, no cigar or brass ring on that merry-go-round.
By contrast, those same licenses and certifications allowed me to have my choice of jobs internationally. I still would much rather practice our shared professions back in our own country. Just sayin.