Much of what the Green Industry has been talking about lately has to do with the relentless winter and its generally positive effect on the snow removal business. Then the discussion turns to how the spring mowing business should take off with a bang—eventually—due to the moist soil conditions in much of the eastern half of the country.
Somewhat lost amidst all of this positive banter is the ongoing improvement of the construction industry. January data from the U.S. Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce, along with data from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), offer some very encouraging signs.
January construction spending is up 9.3% from one year ago. And the growth is happening in both the residential and non-residential sectors.
Residential. According to the U.S. Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce, residential construction spending was up 13.9% in January. Additionally, NAHB data shows that February housing starts held pretty steady—which is quite positive in light of the fact that the weather conditions in much of the country have not been conducive to new-home construction. More importantly, the pieces are in place for the pace to significantly pick up once spring finally springs. On that note, builder confidence appears to be holding steady, and new home permits jumped 7.7% in February.
Non-residential. The non-residential (commercial) construction industry is also headed in the right direction. January spending was up 6.5%. Several key segments in particular, which create significant demand for landscaping and lawn care services, have been showing solid growth:
- Lodging – up 44.8%
- Offices – up 11%
- Commercial facilities – up 12.4%
- Manufacturing facilities – up 7.1%
Landscape contractors can breathe at least a little sigh of relief as market conditions continue to improve in more ways than one. But it’s still up to contractors to get out there and sell not just their services, but the value of doing business with their individual companies. Yes, the market is getting better and better. But it’s still competitive where the only the strongest will thrive.