The turnaround of the housing market has been well documented here and elsewhere. There are a plethora of reasons to be optimistic about the future for the home building industry, its material suppliers, door and window manufacturers, and labor force. Multi-family construction has been strong. And while housing starts unexpectedly dropped in June (by 9.3%), the month’s 893,000 housing starts represent a 7.5% improvement over the same time last year.
This year’s IBS show attendance is further evidence of an industry recovery. Estimated attendance was roughly 75,000 people, well over the 50,000 estimated in the prior year’s show. Order trends for doors, door sills, and building supplies are very healthy for the first quarter of 2014, particularly in the south and west. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) expects single family housing to pick up as well, despite June’s dip. Demand will likely continue to increase for energy efficient doors, door hardware, and weather stripping.
And despite the drop in housing starts for June, sales of existing homes rose by 2.6% for the month. So the forecast is still fairly sunny, right?
That is, until you consider the fact that many contractors cannot hire the skilled workers they need due to the current labor shortage. In many markets, contractors have to pause before taking on additional work for fear that they may not have the necessary skilled labor at their disposal. In addition, many have had to increase pay scales – an added expense that gets passed on and inflates home prices.
Some of the markets identified as having a labor shortage include Denver, Minneapolis, Charlotte, and several in Texas.
According to the NAHB, home building and peripheral businesses account for roughly 15% of our GNP. Builders are a major employer and with the improving market comes an increased need for qualified labor. Where will this workforce come from? The answer may be in meaningful and sensible immigration reform that does not place undue burden on small and medium size business.
Endura Products, Inc. manufactures entry door component systems that improve door construction, door installation and long-term performance in the home. Endura components improve functionality, maximize the seal between the door and the opening, and reduce air and water infiltration.