Employment and the Industry Outlook

Jul 16th, 2012

-+*In June the U.S. economy added 80,000 jobs. While this is better than a decrease in the overall number of jobs, the growth in employment continues to fall short of the 200,000 jobs per month at which an economic recovery is seen to be self-sustaining. Looking at unemployment rates by education levels provides an interesting […]

The Outlook Continues to Improve

Jul 5th, 2012

-+*Pessimists like to point out that we are facing a number of macro-level challenges, including the impending expiration of various tax cuts and bumping our heads against the national debt ceiling once again. Compounding that is the fact that this is an election year. This means that both sides of the aisle will expend more […]

Social Media: Here to Stay but a Long Way to Go

Jun 11th, 2012

-+*Communicating with potential customers through social media is likely here to stay but these new channels still have a long way to go before they replace traditional media. Matthew Gentzkow, an economics professor at the University of Chicago, estimates that the average American watches 5.5 hours of TV daily. The infancy of the penetration of […]

The Tide is Turning

May 24th, 2012

-+*There was a time when the evening news was filled with story after story of the decline of the housing market and commercial construction. If that weren’t enough, all of my business associates seemed to be on a constant vigil for dire predictions on construction spending to share with me, along with their condolences. That […]

Survey Respondents Say Good Things about Housing

May 7th, 2012

-+*It seems that the key statistics affecting the building products industry waver between good news and bad news on a monthly basis. However, there is a growing sentiment that the industry is improving. A recent survey by Brooke Chase Associates underscored the improving outlook of industry participants ranging from building products manufacturers to distributors and […]

“Innovate or Suffocate”

Apr 17th, 2012

-+*Industry gatherings typically represent a microcosm of the overall industry itself. Fenestration Day, held last week in San Antonio, was no exception. This was a particularly interesting event, since it brought together both manufacturers and dealers in one spot. I tend to call more often on manufacturers, so it was interesting to get a chance […]

Employment, Housing Stats and the Mild Winter

Mar 19th, 2012

-+*Economists estimate that, in order for an economic recovery in the United States to be self sustaining, it is necessary for 200,000 jobs per month to be created. The February employment figures were released recently and 227,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy last month. This is especially significant because it is the third […]

Thoughts on the Plight of Gorell Windows

Feb 16th, 2012

-+*It was with sincere regret that I learned last week of the placement of Gorell Windows & Doors into receivership. I learned this news as I was preparing to leave an otherwise upbeat Builders’ Show and it served as a reminder that we’re not completely out of the woods yet. Wayne Gorell is a statesman […]

Good News for the Year Ahead

Jan 10th, 2012

-+*I wrote in January 2011 that it was easier to be an optimist at that time than a year earlier. This week’s positive economic news is helping make it easier to be optimistic about the year ahead. Employers brought on 200,000 employees in December. This hiring surge helped to lower the unemployment rate to 8.5 […]

That Used to be Us

Nov 22nd, 2011

-+*I recently attended a forum featuring Thomas L. Friedman, author of the 2004 bestseller The World is Flat. He attended the forum to discuss his new book, That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back. His earlier book is a discussion of the […]