Many economists are reporting an uptick in the U.S. economy, saying the recession and banking issues that have caused so much anguish are starting to turn around. In the construction marketplace, however, we're seeing little signs that this is the case. Apparently, there will be a lag lasting for a year or more after the recession ends, and before commercial construction resumes growth.
But when the market returns, what kind of market will it be? Frankly, I think it will be leaner and greener.
During the slowdown, many companies have been working on their internal processes. Engineering firms, manufacturers, contractors, and owners are making strategic staffing decisions (laying off and hiring) while investing in new software and training. Companies are also moving to compete in new markets while facing increased competition in their traditional markets.
A proof to this observation is that the AMCA International laboratories are busier than ever. This year, the rate of member companies testing products under AMCA's Certified Ratings Program is higher than any of the past five years. The smaller market has compelled companies to get any edge over the competition. So although costs are scrutinized in most area's, R&D costs seem to be an investment in the future.
Another factor is the market is getting greener. With an eye still on costs, the push to make buildings more efficient, comfortable, and healthy for people and the environment is greater than ever.
Leaner and greener %%MDASSML%% that's where the market is going, and so is AMCA.
2009-2010 President, AMCA InternationalVice President and General Manager, Construction Specialties Inc.
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Annual Salary Survey
Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.
There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.
But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.
Read more: 2015 Salary Survey