ABC: Construction Unemployment Rates Down in 20 States, Showing Regional Improvements in Jobs Numbers

Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. logo

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3—Like most of the economy, construction, and therefore construction employment, was hit hard by the spread of COVID-19 and measures to limit the pandemic. However, construction performed better than many other occupational groups and has been relatively quick to rebound, though not back to its pre-COVID-19 levels, according to a state-by-state analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data released today by Associated Builders and Contractors.Since February, 20 states had lower estimated construction unemployment rates in September even as the national construction unemployment rate was up by 1.6%, due to local market variances.

See graphs of overall unemployment rates (Tab 1) and construction unemployment rates (Tab 2) showing the impact of the pandemic, including a new graphing tool that creates a chart for multiple states; alphabetical lists and rankings; and monthly and annual state unemployment rates.

“After many bumps and bruises, construction has proven to be one of the better performing sectors of the economy over a difficult period. Overall, as of September, about half of the states suffered from construction job losses, while work in several areas remained steady,” said Bernard M. Markstein, Ph.D., president and chief economist of Markstein Advisors, who conducted the analysis for ABC. “Construction has generally done a good job of taking measures to protect its workers from the risk of contracting COVID-19 in the workplace. The impact on construction activity comes more from local increases in COVID-19 cases and efforts to contain these outbreaks.”

2020 Decline in Construction Employment, Compared to 2019: In February, on a year-over-year basis, not seasonally adjusted construction unemployment rates fell nationally and in 37 states, rose in 12 states and were unchanged in one state (New Hampshire), and national NSA construction employment was 214,000 higher than in February 2019—signifying a robust job market.

In March, the early effects of the spread of the disease and local restrictions began to appear. Only eight states had a lower construction unemployment rate than in March 2019, 41 states were higher, and one state was unchanged (Indiana). At the same time, 16 states had a rate lower than in February. Meanwhile, national NSA construction employment was still up by 125,000 from March 2019.By April and May, a period when construction typically ramps up, the pain was being felt throughout the country. All 50 states had higher construction unemployment rates than in the same month in 2019. Over that same time frame, construction employment dropped 912,000 in April and 464,000 in May from the year before.

In June and July, construction unemployment rates were up from the same month the previous year in 49 states and were lower in just one state (Kentucky, both months). Construction employment was down 334,000 in June and 326,000 in July from the previous year.

In August and September, once more, all 50 states had higher estimated construction unemployment rates than the same month in 2019. Over the same period, construction employment fell 299,000 in August and 285,000 in September.

From February to September, the national NSA construction unemployment rate went from 5.5% in February to a peak of 16.6% in April to 7.1% in September, its lowest post-February rate, according to BLS numbers.

Recent Month-to-Month Fluctuations: Because these industry-specific rates are not seasonally adjusted, national and state-level unemployment rates are best evaluated on a year-over-year basis. However, in the current situation, with fast-changing events, month-to-month comparisons are useful, but extra care should be used in looking at those numbers.

The national NSA construction unemployment rate was down 0.5% from August to September. Since the data series began in 2000, the historical pattern of change in rates from August has been ambiguous, with nine increases, nine decreases and two unchanged prior to this year. Among the states, 35 had lower estimated construction unemployment rates than in August, while 13 were higher and two were unchanged (Connecticut and Indiana).

The Top Five States: The states with the lowest September estimated NSA construction unemployment rates in order from lowest to highest were:

  • South Dakota, 2.9%
  • Missouri, 3%
  • North Carolina, 3.3%
  • Nebraska and Utah, 3.4%

Three of these states—North Carolina, South Dakota and Utah—were in the top five in August. South Dakota had the lowest rate in September, up from third lowest in August.Missouri had the second lowest rate in September, up from tied with Wyoming for the 14th lowest rate the previous month.North Carolina had the third lowest rate in September, down from the second lowest rate in August. Nebraska and Utah tied for the fourth lowest rate in September. For Utah, this was down from lowest in August, while for Nebraska, it was up from seventh lowest.

Most Improved Since February: Top Five States: The top five states whose NSA construction unemployment rates were down the most since February in order from largest to smallest change were:

  • West Virginia, -5.3%
  • Alaska, -4.1%
  • Kentucky and Maine (tie), -3.9%
  • Montana, -2.5%

Note that three of these states—Alaska, Maine and Montana—are cold-weather states where February weather often means an elevated construction unemployment rate. However, Montana posted its second lowest February construction unemployment rate since the beginning of estimates in 2000. Warmer-than-normal weather likely played a part in the jobs growth, as well as the state’s strong energy and forestry sectors where unemployed construction workers can generally find work.

West Virginia has suffered from high construction unemployment rates during the past several years, but saw some overall improvement in this measure in the last year or so. Given the state’s mountainous geography, it often experiences a high construction unemployment rate in February due to weather conditions. From May through September, with the exception of August, the state increased construction employment every month. Although an improvement, September’s rate remains high for the state by historical standards.

All these states have relatively low overall unemployment rates. This suggests that for those who cannot find employment in construction, jobs may be available in other sectors of the economy. There is also the possibility that some unemployed construction workers have retired, gone on disability or stopped looking for work altogether, which would mean they are not counted as unemployed.

The Bottom Five States: The states with the highest September estimated NSA construction unemployment rates in order from lowest to highest were:

  • Ohio, 11.2%
  • Michigan, 11.3%
  • Massachusetts, 13.4%
  • Rhode Island, 21.2%
  • Hawaii, 24.6%

All five of these states were also in the bottom five in August. Hawaii had the highest estimated construction unemployment rate in September compared to second highest in August. (Note that the unemployment rate for Hawaii is for construction, mining and logging combined.)

Rhode Island had the second highest rate in September compared to the highest in August. Massachusetts had the third highest rate in September for the fourth consecutive month.

Michigan had the fourth highest rate in September compared to a tie with Ohio for fifth highest in August. For the second month in a row, Ohio had the fifth highest rate in August.

Least Improved Since February: Bottom Five States: The bottom five states whose NSA construction unemployment rates were up the most since February in order from smallest to largest increase were:

  • California, 3.4%
  • Nevada, 5.3%
  • Massachusetts, 5.4%
  • Rhode Island, 7.1%
  • Hawaii, 17.9%

Hawaii, again a state whose unemployment rate is for construction, mining and logging combined, has suffered the worst setback. It was doing reasonably well in February with a somewhat low construction unemployment rate for the state. The pandemic and reaction to it hit the state hard with travel, and consequently tourism (both domestic and foreign), suffering severe damage. As a result, construction felt the fallout. Both the overall and construction unemployment rates shot up and, although they have fallen somewhat, remain high. With little work available on the mainland (particularly the West Coast), the usual safety valve of traveling for employment when construction in Hawaii falters was not available this time.

February and March are normally difficult for Rhode Island due to the weather. Despite warmer-than-normal temperatures in early 2020, the coronavirus hit the state’s construction industry particularly hard, rocketing its construction unemployment rate in April. Since then, there has been continual but slow improvement, still leaving the rate 7.1% higher than in February.

Like Rhode Island, Massachusetts was doing well early in the year, posting its lowest January and February NSA construction unemployment rates on record. This even continued into March with its second lowest rate on record. Both states saw increased monthly construction employment from May through August. As with Rhode Island, Massachusetts’ construction industry was hit hard in April, sending its construction unemployment rate soaring. Since then, the state has experienced steady progress lowering that unemployment rate. Still, its September rate was 5.4% above February’s rate. With a recent surge in COVID-19 cases in the state, the progress the state has made may be reversed over the next few months.

California and Nevada have both suffered from widespread wildfires, adding to the slowdown in construction due to the pandemic. Both states had thriving construction activity at the beginning of the year, with each posting its lowest construction unemployment rate on record in January and February. Rates rose in March and peaked in April. Since then, rates have been on a downward trajectory but remain high by historical standards. Presumably, some unemployed construction workers found employment fighting the wildfires.To better understand the basis for calculating unemployment rates and what they measure, see the article Background on State Construction Unemployment Rates.Visit abc.org/economics for the Construction Backlog Indicator and Construction Confidence Index, plus analysis of spending, employment, GDP and the Producer Price Index. 

Associated Builders and Contractors is a national construction industry trade association established in 1950 that represents more than 21,000 members. Founded on the merit shop philosophy, ABC and its 69 chapters help members develop people, win work and deliver that work safely, ethically and profitably for the betterment of the communities in which ABC and its members work. Visit us at abc.org.   

Tile of Spain announces winners of the 2020 edition of the Tile of Spain Awards

Miami, FL December 2020 – Tile of Spain, the association representing over 125 Spanish tile manufacturers, announces the winners of the 19th annual Tile of Spain Awards of Architecture and Interior Design. The panel of judges, chaired by architects Kengo Kuma of KKAA, met on Thursday, November 26th, to evaluate the submissions and name a winner in each category.  


Winning Projects:

Architecture Winner: Casa Ter, by Mesura Studio

Architecture: “Casa Ter” by Mesura Studio The jury was moved by the connection the single-family home has with the surrounding environment. The structure of the residence was built entirely of concrete and large elongated ceramic pieces, both of which were manufactured with natural clay from nearby La Bisbal, Spain. The interior of the home opens up to nature, establishing a unique indoor-outdoor living concept. Special Mentions “Runnymede College Campus” by Rojo/Fernández-Shaw and “The Young Old House” by Enrique Espinosa & Lys Villalba.

Interior Design Winner: Atlantis Gastrobar by Arantxa Manrique Arquitectes

Interior Design: “Atlantis Gastrobar” by Arantxa Manrique Arquitectes The jury strongly valued the design of this small lounge that allowed ceramic tiles to shine as the true protagonist in this project. Ceramic subway tiles were placed in a vertical arrangement to add height and volume to this small space, while the electric blue bar demands attention by passersby.  Special Mentions“Tienda Camper La Roca” by Tomás Alonso and “6 Viviendas en Cabrera de Mar” by TWOBO Arquitectura.

Final Degree Project: Propuesta Para un Centro de MENAS by Andrea Puebla Yubero of CEU San Pablo Madrid

Final Degree Project:  “Propuesta Para un Centro de MENAS” by Andrea Puebla Yubero of CEU San Pablo MadridThe judges admired the proposal for a typology of “impluvium building” beyond the traditional method of constructing a Mediterranean style patio to carry off excess rain water. Special Mentions“Patios de Agua y Olivos” by Alba Jiménex of ETSA Granada and “Salam Bir” by Eduardo Casado López of ETSA Madrid.  

The Judges

The panel of judges was chaired by prestigious Tokyo based architect, Kengo Kuma. After graduating from the University of Tokyo with a degree in architecture, Kuma founded his own studio, KKAA in his home country of Japan. In 2008, Kuma established Kuma & Associates Europe and is now involved in projects in over twenty countries.

The panel of judges also included Javier Villar Ruiz (KKAA), Jonathan Arnabat (Arquitectura-G), Izaskum Chinchilla, Daria de Seta (Garcés-de Seta-Bonet) and Lázaro Rosa-Violán. To download the full press kit, click here. To download the full Awards press release and high-resolution images, click here.

About the Awards

The objective of the Tile of Spain Awards is to promote the use of Spanish ceramic tiles in architecture and interior design projects (both in Spain and abroad). The program boasts a consolidated trajectory and are held in high esteem by architecture professionals. 

The Tile of Spain Awards offer cash prizes totaling over $44,000 that are divided among three areas. The two main categories – Architecture and Interior Design – each have a cash prize of over $19,000. Special mentions may also be made in both categories, based on the judges’ criteria. The third category, the Final Degree Project, targets students of architecture and has a cash prize of over $5,000. In all three categories, entries are welcome from both Spanish and international participants. 

The award ceremony will be held in Valencia during CEVISAMA 2021. Full details of this and previous editions of the awards are available at  www.tileofspainawards.com

NAC yearly calendar: join the tradition

Do you have a fascination with classic cars and vehicle restoration? So did NAC’s founder, Tom Duve! In celebration of the company’s 30th anniversary in 2013, it started its “Classic Vehicles from the Flooring Industry” calendar as a way to recognize the hobby and share the cool and inspirational stories about classic vehicle restoration with people in the industry. This calendar is now an annual tradition that NAC is happy to share with you.

NAC creates this calendar as a thank you to those who make it proud to be NAC: dedicated customers, industry associates and new relationships. Request a calendar today, explore NAC’s past calendars or send in your classic car photos – you may just see it in next year’s calendar!

Contact Dave Hanna at [email protected][email protected] for details on submitting your car for consideration!

The 2021 edition is available for download here.

Use of digital tools: the new normal in construction

(PresseBox) ( MALMÖ/ Munich, 25.11.20) — A study carried out by BIMobject with surveys of more than 2,500professionals in the Architectural, Planning and Design (AECO)sector reveals how digitalization has accelerated in the sector due to the COVID-19 crisis. New digital tools are now a foundation with 61% saying this will be part of their basic workpost-pandemic with the concept of construction fair changed for good.


Since the advent of the pandemic, the world has seen a breakthrough in the adoption of digitization like never before. From one day to the next, companies all over the world have been forced to implement teleworking, videoconferencing or e-commerce in order to maintain their activities.

In this sense, the construction sector, one of the most traditional in terms of digitalization and the adoption of new tools, has been no exception. According to a study carried out by the BIM content platform for the construction sector, BIMobject , in which the responses of more than 2,500 professionals from the AECO sector were collected, more than half stated that their work had become “much more digital” since the beginning of the pandemic.

Not only that, but 61% expect to use even more digital tools after the COVID-19 crisis. This advance in the use of digital tools by professionals in the sector such as architects and engineers corresponds to the figures recorded by Autodesk, collected in the study published by BIMobject. According to the company’s own data, the number of subscribers in Europe has increased by 350% worldwide since the start of the pandemic.

The post-COVID construction fairs

One of the biggest blows the sector has experienced this year has been the cancellation of multiple construction fairs throughout the world. From Coverings in New Orleans to Salone del Mobile in Milan, BAU in Munich or BIMexpo in Madrid. The impossibility of holding large scale events, due to the strict measures implemented by the various health authorities, has cut short the plans of thousands of construction material manufacturers who were planning to present and promote their new products at these fairs.

The big question is – will the fairs return to normal? Recent news about the development of new vaccines seems to shed light on a scenario that was looking rather bleak. Many fairs, such as the next BAU in 2021, are already converting their exhibitions into hybrid events in order to accommodate all attendees, either in person or virtually, while respecting the corresponding security measures.

However, according to the survey carried out by BIMobject, only 7% of professionals in the AECO sector would be willing to attend an industry event today. According to the data collected, 45% of those surveyed attended these events mainly to attend conferences and receive training. Only 25% of industry professionals attended these events to discover new products, something they now do mainly through online search engines.

Digitization is making its way into the construction industry, not only because of COVID, but also because of the need to create more efficient and sustainable processes. With this data on the table, it is now up to the companies in the sector to decide how to redirect their marketing strategies towards a more digital and interactive environment.

LINK to download of the full report: https://bit.ly/3l2M31V

Clemson University Online offers Applied Drone Technology Course for General and Specialty Contractors

The Applied Drone Technology course, offered through Clemson Online, provides a comprehensive curriculum for contractors to start using this technology safely and profitably.  This course is  taught by one of the foremost drone educators in the country.  Dr. Joseph Burgett is a tenured professor at Clemson University and has extensive experience in the field.  He is a licensed General Contractor and specifically developed this course for general and specialty contractors. 

With 40 hours of material, you’ll learn everything you need to; 1) start saving time, 2) reduce risk, 3) improve logistics and 4) increase efficiency. 

This applied drone course, offered by Clemson University Online, has been developed for general and specialty contractors.

  Click Here for a Video Overview 


Enrollment Fee Includes:

  • Simulator software
  • Simulator controller 3D modeling software
  • FAA study guide
  • FAA test supplement booklet
  • 40 hours of material and activities

Those enrolled will:

  • Earn their Part 107 FAA Remote Pilots Certificate
  • Create 3D models, topographical surveys with incorporated ground control points and stich photos together. (software included) 
  • Quantity take offs such as earthwork volumes 
  • Use our drone simulator to practice flying (software and controller provided)
  • Know how to identify FAA airspace
  • Understand the FAA rules for drone use
  • Much more

Click the link below for more information https://cu-pro-ed.catalog.instructure.com/courses/applied-drone-technology-self-paced    

Introducing new product sourcing and distribution opportunities from The International Surface Event

Now more than ever The International Surface Event (TISE): SURFACES | StonExpo/Marmomac | TileExpo is dedicated to being the premiere floor covering, stone, and tile product distribution network for the industry. In an effort to provide new opportunities for our communities to connect and grow, TISE has implemented a “lift and shift” planning program which has a host of opportunities available to ensure all manufacturers, as well as industry buyers, have the maximum opportunity for product distribution, sourcing, networking, and learning. TISE is excited to announce it has expanded its product distribution network with some of these opportunities incorporating the Las Vegas landmark event (TISE Las Vegas), a new virtual experience (TISE Live Virtual Event), and an online broadcasting network (TISE TV). 
 
TISE LAS VEGAS | JUNE 16-18, 2021
The landmark TISE event, TISE Las Vegas, which normally occurs in January each year, will occur in June for 2021 offering buyers the opportunity to be face-to-face with their business associates and their industry friends. See the newest products, have in-person conversations, and enjoy a special buying experience. Plus, for the first time ever in TISE’s history, the event will be occurring in summer so visitors can take advantage of all of the fun seasonal and outdoor opportunities Las Vegas has to offer while at the event. Exciting new features are being developed for the Las Vegas event, so watch for updates at www.intlsurfaceevent.com

TISE LIVE VIRTUAL EVENT | January 26-28, 2021
Occurring this upcoming January over the original TISE event dates is the new TISE Live Virtual Event.This unique industry event will GO LIVE online with the future of floor covering, stone, and tile surfaces for 2021 offering attendees the opportunity to connect and preview products while enjoying creative, immersive online experiences. Join us for three packed days of product-focused live meetings, education, product pitch videos, and unique, fun content and activities, January 26-28, 2021. 
Presenting sponsor | Mannington Mills, Registration sponsor | Phenix Flooring.

TISE TV | Airing episodes all year long
TISE has partnered with the Live Broadcast Network (LBN) to bring the industry a whole new floor covering, stone, and tile shopping and product sourcing experience: the TISE TV Broadcasting Network, streaming all original product programming on Facebook. Episodes will also be available through Google Tv, Youtube, and LInkedIn. Plus, after ariring, episodes are available on demand and sharable with customers. The first episodes from Mannington Mills and Kardean Designflooring are in production now and will be launching as weekly webisodes starting in December. Watch for the TV Guide coming online to preview air dates and follow us on Facebook to ensure you get the live feed updates when the episodes air. TISE TV is an opportunity to watch product introductions and connect with the presenting manufacturers live from anywhere in the world. 

LOOKING FORWARD TO 2021
There is so much to look forward to as the TISE team rolls out these product sourcing opportunities and new programs for the upcoming year. Manufacturers interested in participating in any of the above programs should contact the TISE team. Industry professionals should watch for updates and news on all of these programs, and maybe even a few more, in the coming months! Make sure to sign up for the event newsletters and follow the event on social media to stay abreast of industry and event news.

Giving Tuesday: ALMA raffle and fundraiser

A raffle and fundraiser that begins today and extends through December 18 will support ALMA (Apprenticeships for Leaders in Mosaic Arts)  Summer Institute in Albuquerque, N.M.

ALMA was initially established in 1999 as part of the Mayor’s Art Institute, under Mayor Jim Baca. It affords young people aged 16-25 from high schools, college and the community the opportunity to conceptualize, design, plan, hand make and glaze tiles, and install them in various sites around town as part of a paid summer apprenticeship.

ALMA (which means “soul” in Spanish) is operated by a handful of lead artists and three co-directors: Cassandra Reid (lotustileworks.com), Executive Director; Vanessa Alvarado (blubirdtileart.com), Outreach Director; and Margarita Paz-Pedro(paz-pedro.com), Operations Director. It has evolved into a 501 (c)3 non-profit , with the majority of its funding coming from grants.

Due to COVID, funding is even more precarious.  ALMA is having an online Raffle and Fundraiser to help it to continue to provide programming for youth in the arts, and to raise $4,000.00 for its own kiln.

ALMA apprentices and Outreach Director Vanessa Alvarado (far left) working on the butterfly mosaic on the wall of the Albuquerque Convention Center in August 2020.

ALMA will announce the winner on Monday, Dec. 21st.  There are four amazingly creative items to raffle off.  Check it out and please share with everyone you know! Find out more here: ALMA Raffle 

Win this butterfly in the raffle. This beauty is about 2ft wide by 1.5ft in height.  If you are the winner, ALMA will come and install and grout it in the place of your choosing in NM or ship it to you with installation and grouting instructions out of state.

 
These native New Mexican flowers beautify any space they are located. This sunflower is about 2.25ft in height by 16 inches wide and in bloom all year long. The winner may choose a location and it will be installed and grouted in NM or it will be shipped to out-of-state winners with installation and grouting instructions.
Local metal sculpture artist Mike Mulvey created the form and apprentice Jacquelyn Yepa tiled a lovely color combination and fade using butterflies from this summer’s mural. It measures at 8.5”h x 6”w x 5”d — and the box opens!
This ALMA tote was screen printed in-house, using ALMA’s 20th-year logo design, “Mosaics for the Soul.” There is also an 8.5”x 11” high-quality art print of the spring 2011 project “Winds of Change” and a tile magnet with one of ALMA’s signature glazes.

Interested in simply making a donation? Follow this link to see ways you can support ALMA. Donations of $50 or more will receive a tax-deduction letter.

crowd of people at unveiling of a mosaic mural
One of the murals created by ALMA on the Albuquerque Convention Center.

Nonresidential construction spending remains flat in October while residential construction expands; many commercial projects languish

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Demand for most types of nonresidential projects remains flat amid COVID-10 uncertainty, dwindling state and local budgets and the lack of new federal coronavirus relief measures which put jobs at risk.

The construction industry’s fortunes continued to diverge in October, as residential construction expanded again while nonresidential construction remained largely unchanged from a month ago and is down compared to last year, according to an analysis of new federal construction spending data by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials said that demand for nonresidential construction is being hit by private sector worries about the coronavirus, tighter state and local budgets and the lack of new federal pandemic relief measures.

“The October spending report shows private nonresidential construction is continuing to slide,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Public construction spending has fluctuated in recent months but both types of nonresidential spending have fallen significantly from recent peaks this year and appear to be heading even lower.”

Construction spending in October totaled $1.44 trillion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, an increase of 1.3 percent from the pace in September and 3.7 percent higher than in October 2019. But the gains were limited to residential construction, which increased 2.9 percent for the month and 14.6 percent year-over-year. Meanwhile, private and public nonresidential spending was virtually unchanged from September and declined 3.7 percent from a year earlier.

Private nonresidential construction spending declined for the fourth month in a row, slipping 0.7 percent from September to October, with decreases in nine out of 11 categories. The October total was 8.2 percent lower than in October 2019. The largest private nonresidential segment, power construction, declined 0.8 percent for the month. Among the other large private nonresidential project types, commercial construction—comprising retail, warehouse and farm structures—slid 1.0 percent, manufacturing construction declined 0.8 percent, and office construction dipped 0.2 percent.

Public construction spending increased 1.0 percent in October and 3.7 percent year-over-year. The largest public category, highway and street construction, gained 1.6 percent for the month. Among other large public segments, educational construction increased 1.1 percent for the month and transportation construction rose 1.0 percent.

Private residential construction spending increased for the fifth consecutive month, rising 2.9 percent in October. Single-family homebuilding jumped 5.6 percent for the month, while multifamily construction spending rose 1.2 percent and residential improvements spending was flat.

Association officials said demand for nonresidential construction was unlikely to rebound in the near-term without new federal relief measures, putting additional construction careers at risk. These should include new investments in infrastructure, to improve aging roads and bridges, public buildings and water utility networks. Federal officials should refrain from taxing Paycheck Protection Program loans as it would undermine the benefits of that program. And Congress and the administration should work together to enact liability reforms to protect honest firms from frivolous coronavirus lawsuits.

“As long as the coronavirus undermines private sector confidence and public sector budgets, the only way to save good-paying construction careers is through new federal relief measures,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Fixing the nation’s infrastructure, preserving the benefits of the PPP program and protecting honest employers will give the economy a much-needed short-term boost.”

Kitchen & Bath Market Index at highest point this year, suggests strong 2021 for remodeling

HACKETTSTOWN, NJ — (December 1, 2020) — Today, the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) and John Burns Real Estate Consulting (JBREC) released their Q3 2020 Kitchen & Bath Market Index (KBMI). For the first time this year, the KBMI is above 50 — at 61.9 — up from 44.2 in Q2 and 41 in Q1. Scores of 50 indicate expansion and scores below indicate contraction.

NKBA members rank the overall health of the industry at 6.9 (on a scale of one to 10), just below the 7.2 reported in pre-COVID Q4 2019. While confident about current business conditions at 56.5, industry members are even more optimistic about future conditions, which they set at 66.9 as 2020 draws to a close.

“As we approach the end of an unprecedented year, the industry outlook is promising,” said NKBA CEO Bill Darcy. “While COVID-19 will continue to present challenges to the supply chain, labor and spending, we’re grateful to be one of a few industries that has actually seen growth in response to consumers spending more time at home and looking to make their spaces more functional in this new normal. Kitchen and bath professionals are well-positioned for continued success into the coming year.”

“Consumers have undertaken a lot of remodeling in 2020, but significant opportunity remains, especially for the kitchen and bath market, going into 2021,” notes Todd Tomalak, Principal at  JBREC. “Much of the already completed renovation work has focused outside the home — redoing decks, gardens and outdoor entertaining spaces — in response to COVID-19 restrictions. For many families working and schooling from home, 2020 wasn’t the ideal time to redo a space as essential as the kitchen or bathroom. As such, we anticipate continued activity for kitchen and bath remodeling next year.”

In the first half of 2020, NKBA members predicted negative sales for the year, but Q3 brought better news for the industry, which now expects a 1.1% increase in YOY sales compared to 2019. In fact, Q3 sales in 2020 were up 2.1% from 2019, and sales grew 5.9% since last quarter overall — ranging from designers, who saw a smaller 3.2% increase, to manufacturers, who experienced a significant 9.6% rise.

More than half (62%) of all companies surveyed report COVID-19 drove higher demand to their business in Q3. While the crisis continues to have some adverse effect on the industry, with 29% reporting the pandemic has led to lower demand, its negative impact has lessened each quarter and, at 5.9 (on a scale of one to 10), is nearly 30% lower than the Q1 rating of 8.1. Among those industry professionals who haven’t seen demand return to normal levels, 29% expect it to do so in 2021.

KBMI executive summary chart

The following trends are expected to impact homeowners and the industry into 2021:

  • For the first time, supply chain disruption is reported as the industry’s greatest challenge, beating out economic uncertainty and recession and further hinting at an optimistic outlook for 2021 as manufacturers ramp up production in response to demand. Appliances and cabinets are most impacted, while other luxury products, particularly from Europe, are facing delays in lead times and backorders as well.
  • Increased pipeline demand is another promising indicator for 2021, with 53% seeing larger pipelines of projects or project orders in Q3 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.
  • Still, uncertainty remains. When asked if they think COVID-19 will “shut down” the economy again in Q4, 39% of NKBA members are unsure. Almost the same percentage (37%) do not expect another shutdown, but 24% do anticipate shutdowns as infection rates climb.
  • Despite strong remodeling interest, consumers are still more price-conscious than they were pre-COVID, with designers especially noting smaller budgets. Customers are leaning toward smaller-scale remodels and temporary solutions that are low-cost and largely DIY.

Each sector of the kitchen and bath market faces unique challenges and opportunities:

  • Perhaps unexpectedly given COVID-19 restrictions, retail sales foot traffic rose 8% in 2020 over 2019. With much of the foot traffic driven by DIY’ers, the increase in foot traffic has not necessarily led to increased revenue.
  • In response to a heightened demand for products, especially appliances, manufacturing sales increased 5.8% YOY in Q3, despite some COVID-19-related disruptions and difficulties finding qualified labor to meet ramped-up production needs. Manufacturers also rated the KBMI highest of any sector, at 67.7. The majority (55%) of manufacturers are back to operating at 100% or more of their normal workforce, with 14% employing more workers than pre-COVID.
  • Lower price points and cutbacks in discretionary design services have propelled homeowners to DIY projects – but designers are seeing marked improvement in Q3, with more than half (57%) reporting higher bids in the last quarter than Q1 and Q2. Additionally, 39% reported no canceled or postponed projects in Q3.
  • Building and construction companies also continue to see fewer postponements and cancellations, with 49% reporting zero of either in Q3. More than half (54%) of companies with postponed jobs expect those to resume in 2021.

Infinity Drain is a Product Innovation Award (PIA) winner for its revolutionary Stainless Steel Shower Base

Amityville, NY, November 2020 – Infinity Drain, leading the industry in decorative shower and wet area drain solutions, won a PIA award from Architectural Products magazine for its Stainless Steel Shower Base. The new shower base dramatically reduces the amount of time required to install a new bathroom shower and decreases the need for trade coordination because it is ready to tile, pre-sloped and does not require additional waterproofing on the walls. The game-changing Infinity Drain Stainless Steel Shower Base is guaranteed for life against waterproofing failure.   

SS shower base and installed image
Infinity Drain won a Product Innovation Award for its Stainless Steel Shower Base

“Our dedication to innovation continues to keep Infinity Drain top of mind among designers, builders and discerning consumers around the world,” noted Jonathan Brill, President of Infinity Drain. “We’re thrilled to have won this prestigious honor for our patent-pending Stainless Steel Shower Base.”  

“Building on the success of past programs, the tenth edition of the PIA awards proves commercial building manufacturers are committed to, and are working arduously toward, delivering products that deliver better performance, life and affordability, that keep pace with ever-shifting market requirements,” stated Jim Crockett, Editorial Director for Architectural Products magazine. With judging and evaluation of products and systems from a distinguished panel of 22 designers and product specialists skilled in product evaluation, the PIA program awards manufacturers based on attributes, qualities, functionality and/or performance beyond industry standards.

About the Infinity Drain Stainless Steel Shower Base

Patent-pending waterproof design saves time as it’s ready to tile and pre-sloped. Available sizes include a 60″ x 30″ option as well as custom sizing for quantities of 10 or more. Additional features of the Shower Base include a curb or curbless option and the ability to use any grate style or tile insert. If the product should develop a leak, Infinity Drain will bear the cost of labor, removal, replacement, and will restore the installation with the same ‘like and kind” materials originally used.      

Infinity Drain® Custom Stainless Steel Shower Base Features  

  • Available sizes:  60″ x 30″ or custom sizes (minimum quantity 10)
  • Stainless steel shower base is completely waterproof
  • Additional waterproofing on wall is optional
  • Ready to tile 
  • Available with any grate style or tile insert
  • Curb or curbless option
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Plumbing code compliant for use as prefabricated shower receptor
  • IAPMO tested to IAPMO PS-106-2015 standard 
  • Integrated linear drain or center drain options
  • With a 6″ sleeve on foundation, the 2″ no hub connection through slab allows for 2″ variance in any direction
  • Shower base sets shower framing for exact wall to wall installation
  • Factory flood tested as per UPC and IPC standards  
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