In fact, as it did last year, sectors such as corporate, healthcare, hospitality and even education are making the industry look good. The industry’s major contractors are reporting solid workloads with jobs spread out well into the future. This is true even in places where the commercial economy has been lagging the rest of the country for the last several years. The contractors in these areas are beginning to smile again as they are starting to see a steady influx of jobs, including some major, high profile renovations or in new construction—especially in the healthcare and corporate segments.
Granted it seems as if it is the rare time when both the residential and commercial industries are operating at full steam at the same time, as usually one is driving the other. There is good reason to believe, though, by the time the residential industry begins moving at full speed, the commercial side will still be growing.
Why? When it comes to the various segments, there are certain indicators that cannot be ignored in trying to gauge future activity.
Let’s start with the corporate world. The stock market continues to break records, or remain at record highs. At press time it was hovering around the 18,200 mark, and up roughly 2,400 points from the same point last year—at which time it was considered to be doing quite well. In addition to the stock market, it seems like every other day a major corporation is announcing either record quarterly or yearly earnings.
Put these two things together and you have a segment with more money in its coffers than at any other time in history. As a result, companies are upgrading their offices, buildings and campuses in general as they try to not only retain their top talent but recruit others to fill voids as they grow beyond their pre-recession periods.
In healthcare, while the millennials are getting most of the attention when it comes to how to attract the next generation of shoppers, the baby boomers, which still make up more than 25% of the population continue to grow older—and live longer than any other generation in history thanks to advances in the medical field. As this massive segment of society continues to age, so does its need for medical care. There is a reason hospitals are expanding like crazy and in every town assisted living facilities is one of the fasting growing industries.
But don’t discount the younger generations—Gen X, Gen Y and the millennials. With the population greater than it’s ever been and growing, there is a need for more urgent care clinics and specialty facilities—physical therapy, MRI/screening centers, etc. Even the everyday general practitioner or dentist is expanding their offices to meet growing patient demands.
Finally, there’s the hospitality industry. While it took a hit during the recession, with the luxury market in full swing—the one area of residential showing life—and corporations back to having their people travel at pre-recession levels, the need for this segment to stay trendy is more important than ever.
Hotels and resorts need to attract conventions, let alone the vacationing family, and spas and other realms of this segment also need to make sure their facilities are inviting.
At some point the residential market will gain strength, but until it does there’s plenty to keep people busy on the commercial side of the tracks.