The Fencing Industry and Our Neighbors
American poet Robert Frost wrote: “Good fences make good neighbors.”
Maybe our natural desire to be good neighbors is what drives the U.S. demand for fencing, predicted to rise 7% a year to $9 billion in 2018. In 2014, the fencing industry produced 717 million linear feet; output is predicted to grow to 875 million linear feet of fencing in 2018. Some 14,000 companies employ approximately 41,000 workers.
Metal is the material most often used for fencing. Traditional wood fencing is giving way to plastic and composite fencing, which offer superior cost and durability. The use of concrete fencing is also growing fast because of its attractive mix of low cost, design flexibility, and ease of deployment.
How are our neighbor industries doing?
Analysts predict growth in all segments of the construction industry over the next few years as the recovery from the 2008–2009 recession continues.
Robust growth in homebuilding, with estimates ranging from 25–41% is projected for 2015. The next five years should see continued improvement in demand for new housing, easier financing, and rising real estate values. Overall, homebuilding is an $82 billion business, employing about 400,000 in over 160,000 individual businesses.
Flooring installation should see strong growth in the next five years as well. Growing home improvement spending and rising homebuilding and commercial activity will lead to growth in the $18 billion industry. 77,000 businesses employ nearly 129,000 workers. One problem contractors face is competition from other non-specialist trades such as carpenters, concrete contractors, and tilers.
The $69 billion excavation contracting business was hit hard by the recession. Excavation is also extremely capital intensive, so a difficult lending environment has made life difficult for companies. Expected strong growth in demand for excavation will track other construction industries, especially homebuilding. Excavation employs more than 520,000 workers, and has 27,000 individual companies.
The commercial construction industry is a true heavyweight, with 63,000 businesses employing 1.6 million workers. Annual revenue in 2014 came in at over $143 billion. Commercial building is seeing increased demand as the US economy continues to recover. Declining vacancy rates in commercial properties mean that businesses will need more space in commercial and retail buildings, which should mean strong growth in revenue and profits for the industry.
In Frost’s poem, the farmer “likes having thought of it so well – He says again, ”Good fences make good neighbor.” We’re happy to see our neighbor industries sharing the growth we in the fencing industry are seeing.