From the Publisher January/February 2020July 21st, 2021 by Nathan Hobbs
“So Tara, what are you hearing from window companies about the current market?”
It’s a general question but one I get asked often—mostly in person when visiting with people at their plants, an industry event or a trade show. The answer I just gave to someone in November at WinDoor was this: “I’m sensing a lot of wait-and-see.”
This person agreed with my statement, then we delved a little deeper and talked about some of the outliers. There are always outliers.
Yes, a lot of companies have been hunkering down over the past few years, waiting to see what happens before they make any big decisions. But there are those who are forging ahead. Companies such as Andersen which announced in June that it is expanding its existing manufacturing operation in Cottage Grove, Minn., by 350,000 square feet, adding 125 new jobs. Or Quaker Windows and Doors which is in the midst of a $63 million expansion. Sadly, there are a few large companies that have made recent announcements that they’ll cut workers, but economic models do not suggest a recession in the near term. And if one were to happen, Richard Branch, chief economist for Dodge Data & Analytics, says it wouldn’t be long or severe.
How do I know this? Because [DWM] editor Drew Vass gathered data from the industry’s most respected sources and compiled it all for the economic forecast that appears on pages 24 to 27. I encourage you to delve through it yourself. Hopefully this news makes you breathe a little easier and perhaps urge you to make some small steps forward. If it brings more caution, that’s alright, too. We want to ensure you have the info at hand to make whatever decision is right for your company.
Following are a few of the most encouraging signs:
• In a time when people feel confident that they aren’t going to lose their jobs, and that they can find another position fairly easily, they’re more confident in borrowing and spending, according to Christian deRitis, deputy chief economist with Moody’s Analytics, and other experts. This is encouraging when it comes to home sales.
• The economy continues to grow at around 2% per year.
• Some experts agree that—due to growing demand and a backlog in post-recession recovery—the construction industry should be relatively immune from but all of the worst risks.
Window companies aren’t the only ones waiting to see. Vass reports that the new homes market is held back by cautious builders. Nothing is wrong with some caution—especially when it’s the opposite of what got many companies into problems during the housing boom last time around.
Studies indicate that rising home prices have helped to propel the demand for remodeling.
Just look at the stats: Nearly 80% of the nation’s housing (137 million homes) are at least 20 years old, and nearly 40% are at least 50 years old.
Research specific to the door and window market are encouraging as well. According to a study conducted by the Window and Door Manufacturers Association and the Farnsworth Group, shipments of doors and windows are expected to continue growing to the tune of around 2% per year.
Two percent isn’t going to set the world on fire, but it’s also not reason to worry. And perhaps it’s a reason to move from wait and see, to a plan for moving forward.
Tara Taffera is the publisher of [DWM] magazine. Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.
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