Forecast and Trends Covered In Glazing Executives Forum
Contract glaziers involved in commercial projects, along with the
rest of the construction industry, have been enjoying a strong boom
period of late. We can expect this growth to continue through 2008
and possibly into early 2009. However, that, in all likeliness,
will change, according to Dr. Jeff Dietrich of The Institute for
Trend Research, who predicts the economy will be in recession around
2009 to 2010.
"In the second half of 2008 we'll start to feel the pinch of
inflation and rising interest rates," he told attendees of
yesterday's Glazing Executive's Forum, which took place in Las Vegas
and was sponsored by the National Glass Association. "This
next recession will be across the board-everyone needs to be alert,"
Dietrich covered an abundance of information in his presentation,
all of which provided insight into how companies can prepare and
ready themselves for what they may encounter in the future. One
such area he covered was unemployment, which is currently at 4.8
percent. This, he said, is good news. The bad news to low unemployment
is that it's tough not only to get skilled labor, but also unskilled
"Invest in your people," said Dietrich. "Don't think
unemployment will stay down till the recession; you need to do something
to keep your employees."
He also provided a look at some of what we are seeing currently
in the economy as well as the different construction segments. Some
of the highlights were:
- Retail sales are doing very well because consumer spending is
still very strong;
- Inflation pressure has continued to come from rising oil prices.
He noted that in 1973 the United States was only 28 percent dependent
on foreign oil; today we are 63 percent dependent.
He encouraged the importance of companies finding ways to reduce
energy costs, saying, "You need to have an energy policy in
your company or you don't have a plan for the next three to five
years. Save energy and you will save cash."
The growth of China's manufacturing presence in the world economy
was also covered. He also said that while China does continue to
grow, there are issues stalking its future, some of which include
the country's legal system (court of no appeals); environmental
and health issues (China has no health system); no education system;
and competition for resources and "cheap" labor (from
the Philippines, India, Vietnam, etc.)
"China will not continue to grow exponentially," Dietrich
said. "As the largest nation on the face of the earth, when
the United States goes into a recession, others will feel the pinch."
But the main point of Dietrich's presentation was how to prepare
for the future.
"Ask yourself, 'What next? What will I do this time to mitigate
the downturn that's coming? What will keep us going when the economy
slows down?" Some advice he offered included: selling at the
top of the business cycle; conserving some cash; and finding ways
As part of yesterday's forum, a number of other topics were covered
in afternoon breakout sessions. Topics discussed included contracts
and legal issues, hurricane and blast-mitigation systems, new construction
designs, immigration and workforce and more.
The forum preceded GlassBuild America, which opens today at the
Las Vegas Convention Center and runs through Thursday.