Construction jobs spiked in January, explaining strong attendance - 75,000 - at the highly successful 2014 Builders and KBIS Shows.
More than 48,000 jobs were created in residential building last month, driving wood manufacturing - floors, doors, windows, cabinetry - and the furniture or the homes these workers are building.
The three-day co-located shows, which ended Feb. 6, revolve around home building and remodeling, and were a wealth of anecdotal news and insights. Just a few examples:
- In March, Masco Cabinetry will launch a line of ready-to-assemble kitchen cabinets, shipped even in small quantities.
- Hafele sees a rise in orders for sliding door hardware and for pocket doors in the hospitality sector. The hardware helps hotels shrink room sizes and costs.
- Lumber Liquidators, promoting to professional remodeling contrators, has found a hot business in selling Norge house-brand saws, staples and compressor installation tools
- Woodgrain Millwork expands its applications for Cerfis polymer coated MDF millwork, with stable boards that could subsitute for melamine shelving.
- Closets and cabinetry manufacturers and installers are avidly marketing to busy builders, who face a shortage of labor to place kitchens, garages and master bedroom walk-ins.
But the biggest news is the recovery in homebuilding, and the fact that younger people - ages 25-34 years - are buying homes. Half of all new home sales were to this group. Household formation, dampened during the downturn, has now resumed. The National Association of Home Builders sees a rosy outlook will stick.
Do the millenial and Geny-Y age groups have money to buy new cabinets? "Yes," says Gabe Peterson, KraftMaid Cabinetry's senior marketing manager. "People are getting money earlier in their careers," either through new-economy job success, or rapid returns from their own entrepreneurial ventures.
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