While spring officially starts tomorrow, several HVAC contractors are still waiting for winter to arrive. The national average temperature across the 48 contiguous states in January was 36.3 — 5.5 degrees above the 1901-2000 average, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Climatic Data Center.
Mixed signals make it difficult to determine what to expect over the next year, although most manufacturers echo Gary Clark, senior vice president of marketing, Goodman Global Group Inc., who stated, “Overall, we see 2012 being very similar to 2011.”
The economy has been tough for many HVAC contractors over the last few years, and the signals are mixed as to whether things will get better in 2012. On the positive side, construction employment rose in 28 states and the District of Columbia between December 2010 and December 2011. On the other hand, only 302,000 new homes were sold in 2011, which is 6.2 percent below the 2010 figure.
Last year ended on a disappointing note for many, including distributors. On the bright side, distributors in all U.S. regions ended 2011 in positive territory and also reported higher inventory levels than the same time in 2010. What’s ahead for 2012?
Despite lingering economic blight, a gridlocked political climate, and mild winter temperatures, Paul Stalknecht, president and CEO of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), is beaming with optimism.
According to the latest outlook from the National Association for Business Economics (NABE), economists are predicting moderate growth, a brightening employment picture, and an increase in housing starts in 2012.
FMI, provider of management consulting and investment banking to the engineering and construction industry, announced the release of its 2012 first quarter Nonresidential Construction Index (NRCI) report. The NRCI gained 7.8 points over last quarter to 58.1 this quarter.
Demand in the United States for HVAC equipment is projected to increase 5.1 percent annually to $16.8 billion in 2015, according to a study that came out in November titled HVAC Equipment from The Freedonia Group Inc., a Cleveland-based industry market research firm.
Having just returned from the International Builder’s Show in Orlando, I have to remark that the show has downsized itself quite noticeably. Though what might be called the world’s largest home and garden show is less than its gargantuan self of years past, it is still an awesome event.