Similar to what PrintDriver said, the whole field is changing to the point where it’s nearly unrecognizable.
As he mentioned, the usual fare for designers — logos, brochures, books, posters, stationery, packaging, etc. — has fallen victim to crowdsourcing, cheap overseas labor, templates and lots of amateurs making pocket change by helping people with these things.
Move up a couple of notches from there to more specialized areas that require more customized graphic design and there’s still money to be made, but the competition is extreme.
For example, I personally know a kid (early 20s) who’s making a six-figure income by designing and selling virtual clothes for game characters. He’s really an exception, though. The field, as you mentioned, is flooded with amateur designers, hobbyists, recent graduates from commercial design school programs and university graduates.
There just aren’t enough jobs to go around, and the glut of designers looking for a piece of the pie in a shrinking market has driven down wages to near poverty levels. It’s always been a tough field that’s required lots of talent, ambition and a refusal to give up, but over the past few years, a new person making a go of it has become something of a long shot.
Personally, I got into the field in the late 1970s when there just weren’t that many trained designers. I live in an area with a couple of million people, but my guess is that I knew at least half the graphic designers in town. Today, I’ll bet there are a couple of thousand people in town calling themselves designers. I’ve made a good living over the years at it, but today, I’m not sure I’d recommend anyone going into the field unless they are so driven and talented that it’s the only thing they can imagine themselves doing.