AWI e-briefs - 07/07/2011 (Plain Text Version)

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AWI Learning Forum

AWI Convention Session Looks at “The Big Picture of the Recovery”

These are challenging times for architectural woodworkers. Tenacious and innovative business leaders will weather the downturn in the economy. But when will sunny skies return?

"It begins with the housing market. The Institute for Trend Research (ITR) has revised its forecast down due to continuing foreclosures, the lack of movement in the housing market, tight credit and unemployment," Dr. Jeffrey Dietrich, Senior Analyst, told AWI e-briefs. "Housing starts are down about 10% from a year ago," he said. This means that 2011 will be another challenging year. ITR is forecasting the housing recovery to be stronger in 2012 and 2013.

Competition for business in commercial construction is stiff. There is a huge vacancy rate in the commercial sector, so businesses are taking advantage of lower interest rates and remodeling space. Seek out the opportunities.

"As for lodging and educational buildings – those sectors are still in the doldrums, well below year ago levels," Dr. Dietrich said.

"We think that trend lines indicate a longer recovery than anyone wants," Dr. Dietrich noted. "In recent memory no one has seen the extent of the national overbuild and credit collapse we are experiencing now. The early 1980s was the last time we saw anything similar. Nationally speaking, we have to go a long way back to see parallel trends," he said.

So, is there hope? Dr. Dietrich recommends that firms continue to be aggressive and competitive to keep the doors open. "For some businesses, it’s a matter of reinventing themselves. The bottom line is that businesses have to focus on strengths and what sets them apart. Price cutting only gives a business a few months advantage."

What are the positive signs? "The urban dwelling movement is positive among a younger demographic, more focused on remodeling and renovation. However, it will take awhile for the younger generation to see a house as an investment," Dr. Dietrich said. ITR expects continued housing foreclosures, more apartment dwellings, and limited investment in housing. "New house formation is down around 500,000, compared to the 1.2 million prior to the downturn.

ITR takes a much longer view. "We are quite optimistic, although 2011 will continue to be a struggle. We encourage people to not give up and not read the latest headline as bad news. On the positive side, it is very healthy to curtail spending. However, we will see growth when consumers really start spending money. Right now, we have a lot of economic and political uncertainty," the senior analyst said.

For more information about the market trends, including positive indicators about improvements to the economy, watch for the August edition of AWI NewsBriefs, the association’s monthly print newsletter. And, for the latest trends and economic recovery forecasts, plan to attend "The Big Picture of the Recovery" on October 27 during AWI’s 59th Annual Convention in Charlotte, NC.

About the Speaker
Sought-after presenter Dr. Jeffrey Dietrich is a Senior Analyst for the Institute for Trend Research. More than 30 years of public speaking experience before large and small groups enables Mr. Dietrich to demystify economics, bringing an often-confusing maze of economic information into sharper focus and resulting in practical business application. He grew up in Cameroon, West Africa, which helped inform his understanding of the global economy. He has a Masters Degree in Theology and wrote his doctoral dissertation on leadership development and team building. He served as a Human Resource Trainer and Consultant prior to coming to ITR, and has taught at the college level. In addition to his national and international speaking, Dr. Dietrich’s views appear on TV, the radio and through a myriad of articles.
Learn More...
"The Big Picture of the Recovery"
October 27, 2011
9:00 am – 10:30 am

Jeffrey Dietrich, Senior Analyst, Institute for Trend Research

The best teams are always prepared. To plan your strategy, you need to understand the context of the economy. Gain a macro overview of economic trends for your roadmap to recovery. Learn what trends to watch, understand business cycles, and get current forecasts from an ITR analyst who will turn numbers into knowledge. Will your company follow the pack or take the lead? 

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