The recent recession has been really tough on people who design buildings...
According to the AIA, in 2008 there were 221,000 jobs in the architecture profession in the United States; in 2010, that number hovered around 167,000, a drop of 24% in 2 years. As a lot of people lost their jobs or had significant drops in salary, the whole profession felt a collective ouch! And while the overall statistics indicated that architecture unemployment was nearing 20%, in places especially hit hard by construction decline, the number was closer to 40%.
As part of the real estate sector, the profession of architecture is quickly and decisively affected by economic swings. It's often the first thing to go when the economy turns down and the last to come back when things pick back up. That said, when the real estate market is good, it can be a time of big growth in architecture. And what goes down must come up: a more recent Wall Street Journal article describes the jobs returning, projecting that 181,000 people worked in architecture in 2011.
Markets will always change, but the best news for people who study architecture is that they have impressive skills in design, problem solving, and critical thinking; many go on to do other related jobs while they wait for architecture to return, or find even greater satisfaction in their new jobs.
Architecture is an amazing discipline, but do be aware that it's a fickle and competitive business. While often glamorized in magazines, movies, and media, practicing architects have to be flexible in the types of projects they take on to support themselves when times are lean. It is ever-changing and evolving work... difficult, exciting, and worth it.