The economic downturn has been especially hard of professional painting contractors, in both new construction and niche market repaints. The new challenges brought on by the recession are multifaceted, but the painting business was already primed for a fatal blow.
For years the Big Box stores have been pounding their "Anybody Can Paint" slogan into the psyche of the general public. They leave out the horror stories and lead everyone to believe that after a fifteen minute clinic on aisle three of the paint department they too can paint like a pro. To make matters worse the pimply faced kid that is dolling out "expert" painting advice was working in the Garden Department three days prior and probably doesn't know the difference between primer and paint without reading the back of the can.
How did this happen? When did the painting Craft, which requires years of experience coupled with a great deal of technical knowledge and a highly developed skill set, become menial labor? I don't know, but I suspect that as long as the public defines a good painting contractor as being cheap and fast and as long as painting contractors are willing to oblige with substandard cheap work the Craft of house painting will continue it's backwards slide into aisle three of the paint department.