While there is still one month left in the year, it’s a pretty safe bet to say 2015 didn’t set the business world on fire. Yet, in the end, it will still be a better year than 2014. While overall growth might not be tremendous, it’s still better to grow a little than not grow at all—or worse, lose business.
It should be noted I’m speaking mainly about the residential side of the industry. In the majority of the country the commercial sector seems to be in full gear in just about all segments—healthcare, corporate, education, hospitality and even retail. In fact contractors have been reporting all year how strong business has been and how bullish they are for the upcoming year based on the number of jobs they have on the books.
While 2016 should be another strong year for the commercial side of the industry, those on the residential side of things should also expect another year of growth. There are numerous reasons I’m saying this. The main indicators used by the industry to project business conditions are still pointing in the right direction. One of the biggest is housing, and most predict a continuing rise in this area to meet pent-up demand from those seeking to re-establish themselves in homes. This new generation of homeowners, the millennials, continue to emerge on the buying scene as they get sick of sky-high rents and consider locking themselves into a mortgage they can afford.
Here’s the real good news, and something I brought up earlier this year to help remind people better economic times will continue to happen. Barring some unforeseeable act that shakes up the world, and depending on when you want to actually say the economy started tanking (some industries—such as flooring—started earlier than others), we’re in the timeframe when many forecasted the “true” recovery would begin.
Once the recession was in full steam, they said it would take at least eight years before we started to truly feel a recovery. It would take at least that long to gain back the millions of lost jobs. Promisingly, the country’s unemployment rate recently hit 5%. Excluding those job seekers who grew discouraged and exited the labor pool entirely, these figures mean the jobs lost during the recession have been more or less gained back.
Now, I grant you, the majority of these new jobs are not what they were before the recession. Many of them are lower paying than what people had prior to the economic disaster. They’re also usually a lot more involved than the jobs pre-recession—it’s not uncommon these days for people to wear four or more hats under one job title.
But let’s also not forget that since the recession, the stock market has continued to hit record levels and corporations are raking in profits. The problem is those profits are not being distributed to the working force. How can a millennial couple with supposedly good jobs but only earning $30,000 each afford to buy a house—let alone raise a family?
So yes, there are many good signs pointing to a prosperous 2016—and beyond—but in order to truly get there, corporations need to give back to those working so hard to make them those record profits. Only then will a young couple be able to buy a new home—and the flooring that comes with it.