We are wrapping up the December issue of Floor Trends at the end of a tough election season, and Donald Trump is now president-elect. No matter which ticket you supported, the result is a divided country. One of the rituals of any American election is the victory speech that aims to unite Americans under new leadership. Every president-elect says the words, but the words have never carried more weight than they do this year.
In the last few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to travel to many cities to meet flooring industry leaders and entrepreneurs. One thing that became clear in my conversations was that many of the Americans who voted in this election did so despite their reservations about the character of both candidates. All we can do now is move forward and do our best to unite and move toward our common future.
It’s a notion that seems to surprise some of my relatives in Europe, who are in shock that President Obama and President-Elect Trump could meet graciously in the White House to talk transition. It’s one of the things I love about our country: being able to put aside differences for a common good.
That said, what does this election mean for our economy and the flooring business? During the election, Trump promised to spend on programs that would create jobs in construction, steel manufacturing, transportation, water, telecom and energy. In his victory speech, he said he would fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools and hospitals: “We’re going to rebuild our infrastructure, which will become, by the way, second to none. And we will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it.”
In addition, he pledged to cut regulations that he said are burdening businesses and holding back job creation.
At the North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors and North American Building Material Distribution Association Annual Convention in Chicago in early November, economist Alan Beaulieu said that it doesn’t matter who is elected to the presidency. He gave a positive forecast, but said we would face a recession in 2019. Even with a fiscally conservative president, it takes 18 months for any major piece of legislation to impact the economy, he noted.
“Make sure you are doing everything you need to do—whether it’s inventory, people, marketing, advertising—pour money into your business because you are going to get market share and you are going to grow in 2017,” Beaulieu said. It’s advice I like to hear, and gives me some optimism for the new year.