There are moments that define our times. A peak of my existence (so far), happened at my son’s kindergarten graduation. The kids were asked what they wanted to be when they grew up. Some said police officers, some said NFL or NBA stars. One wanted to design elevators. But my son said this: “When I grow up I want to be as strong as my dad.” For me, that’s about as good as it gets. For our industry, that moment hit in 2005, when total housing starts topped 2 million for the first and only time (so far).
A dozen years and one Great Recession later, our industry is in a much different place. According to government figures, total housing starts in 2016 topped 1.1 million. That’s a big drop from 2005, but represents a healthy, sustainable rise from 2009’s low of just 554,000 starts. If housing industry economists are right, and I see no reason to think that they’re not, our industry is starting 2017 in a very good place. NAHB’s Housing and Interest Rate Forecast from the end of 2016 looks for continued growth in total housing starts at least through 2018, with a 6.6% rise in 2017 and an additional 7.5% in 2018.
Granted, NAHB’s forecasts tend to be on the sunny side. But even if they’re a couple of percentage points high, that still represents healthy, sustainable growth. In my opinion, that’s the best kind. Because instead of pouring all of our energies into putting out fires, we can focus on taking care of our companies, our people, and our customers. And this issue of LBM Journal is packed with insights and information to help you do just that.A couple of highlights:
R.P. Lumber profile (p. 40). It’s impossible to read about the people who’ve built our industry and their stories without getting inspired. In my view, there’s no better example of the can-do spirit and entrepreneurial drive than that exhibited by Robert Plummer, who founded R.P. Lumber back in 1977. Forty years later, this family-owned and operated company operates 65 locations, and it continues to grow. It’s a great story about great people that you won’t want to miss.
Insights into Non-Competes. With competition for top talent at a fever pitch, companies are paying closer attention than ever to their hiring practices, including non-compete agreements. Readers share their insights and experience with non-competes in our Real Issues. Real Answers. feature on p. 30: “To Non-Compete or Not?” Tony Misura, president of The Misura Group, a recruiting firm focused on the LBM industry, shares some street-level views on this topic in his commentary (p. 6).
InDepth: Moulding, Millwork and Trim (p. 46). This feature is packed with fresh insights from leading manufacturers into the trends, with tips on growing your share of this fast-evolving market.
Our goal with this, and every issue of LBM Journal, is to help you and your team optimize the journey, as our industry continues building to its next peak. If you’d like to share your story, we’d love to hear from you.