Where Do We Go From Here?

Fresno, California – 11.25.20 Let’s talk. 2020 has been labeled a ‘sucker punch’ by some. Others? A ‘gut punch.’ Still others? A ‘knock out’ punch. A pandemic is hard to predict, an economic downturn may have been foreseen, but many health and economic experts say even they are surprised by the impact these have had on health and society-at-large.

Looking into the future has some good and bad news.

It’s not too early to start looking at the aftermath as we put a cap on 2020 and seal it away, for good! ENR.com recently published an article saying the future will be a “slow road to recovery.” As three different vaccines roll out in late December, they are not a silver bullet. Health managers say only select healthcare workers will receive the first doses and the general public later. Surveys say that 70 percent of the population must take the vaccine in order for the vaccine to have an affect on curbing COVID-19. Many are already commenting that they are not interested in taking a shot, or two, as the case may be for one vaccine soon to be offered.

With all of this news it’s not surprising some industries will continue to advance while other will still be curbed in 2021.

Alisa Zevin quoted Richard Branch, chief economist with Dodge Data & Analytics in her 2021 Forecast article for ENR.com. Branch says, “We see a slow growth continuing into mid-2021.” What does that mean for Industry?

We see a slow growth continuing into 2021.

Richard Branch, Dodge Data & Analytics courtesy of ENR.com

Experts say that construction starts took a dive in 2020, but 2021 should see an uptick. All say the U.S. economy has some big challenges ahead. Not even a new Administration in Washington D.C. can ‘cut and paste’ a solution. The pandemic is the cause of that prediction. It has been well documented that the hospitality industry is suffering mightily. Sad to say hotels, restaurants, and retail construction are looking at a foggy future in the short term, say experts.

While the news is not rosy, there are some bright spots. In the Zevin ENR.com article, Dodge expects housing starts to be up 5% in 2021 after a 2% drop in 2020. More inventory could stabilize the cost of housing say experts. It’s no surprise that with remote work exploding during the pandemic, employers are seeing the drop in their bottom line with the prospect of removing bricks and mortar and allowing workers to be suburbanites, ticking up the single-family housing market.

EquipmentWorld.com gives this forecast for improvements for 2021:

  • Warehouse – Large eCommerce companies like Amazon will continue to need more space for distribution as the movement from in-store to online purchases grows.
  • Office – There will be increased demand for data centers and for renovations to existing offices.
  • Health care – Hospitals need more inpatient bed space.
  • Electric utilities/gas plants – Several large liquid natural gas export facilities and more wind farms are scheduled.

The balance for all industries in this forecast? Patience. Easier said than done. There will be ups and downs moving forward say the experts, spurred by a new administration, a pandemic, and public desire for a quick return to ‘normalcy.’

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