OK, there are indeed encouraging signs that the housing market is improving a bit. The same goes for the economy in general, as layoffs at local firms appear to be easing.

But sometimes you have to look for more subtle hints about the overall economy and market performance. This Boston Business Journal report on the architecture industry is concerning. Architecture is closely linked to the commercial real estate industry — and commercial real estate is in a major mess right now. Some believe Wall Street’s commercial real estate securities (similar to subprime-mortgage securities) are the next big shoe to drop for an already battered banking system.

It’s going to be a close call whether we see a “v” recovery (down and then up) or a “w” recovery (down, then up, then down, then up). The jury’s still out.

Your thoughts?