Chair’s Cut: A Port in the Storm

2022 has been another turbulent year for many. Our industry continues to contend with a variety of economic challenges, from surging prices to continued supply-chain disruptions to labor shortages. 

Builder confidence posted its seventh straight monthly decline in July, falling 12 points to 55, according to the most-recent National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. The National Federation of Independent Business stated that inflation remains the top problem for one-third of small business owners. The Construction Association reported that the number of unemployed construction workers fell to 3.5 percent in July 2022, suggesting there are few experienced jobseekers left to hire.

With all these negative headlines, it can be hard to remain optimistic about the future or know where to turn. The good news is the magazine you hold in your hands happens to be produced by an association dedicated to helping its members weather any challenges your business may face. The NWFA works tirelessly and continually to provide updated tools and resources to help you navigate these unprecedented times.

Connect with your industry through the vast network of wood flooring professionals. Reap the benefits of NWFA’s growing number of industry partnerships. Increase your profitability with NWFA’s wide variety of business services designed to improve efficiency and save money. Advance your skills as a wood flooring professional with NWFA’s toolbox of educational resources, including online training, hands-on training, certifications, industry-standard guidelines, technical publications, and technical support.

Most importantly, stay current on industry advances with Hardwood Floors magazine and NWFA’s industry reports and resources. This issue features our 2023 Industry Outlook. This annual benchmarking survey and research project is conducted across the industry to provide a firsthand account of what you have seen within the past year, and what you expect to see in the future in your market.

What we found is that the wood flooring industry is cautiously optimistic for 2023, with 21 percent of respondents in the survey expecting sales to be up significantly and 18 percent expecting sales to be up somewhat. However, it is no surprise that in ranking their biggest concerns going into 2023, respondents cited the economy, followed by supply chain challenges, and labor shortages. Nearly 90 percent of NWFA members reported continued supply chain disruption, and more than 70 percent reported difficulty finding adequate skilled labor this year.

Many members stated that supply availability has had an influence on wood flooring trends, with more demand for domestic products. Hand-scraped flooring and gray stains are expected to decrease, while natural wood colors and engineered flooring are expected to increase. And survey respondents are planning to prioritize adding new product categories, lines, or services going into 2023. Other strategies included increasing marketing, adding new team members, and investing in technology.

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I appreciate that the NWFA staff are involved actively with many other building trade organizations, giving them a broader view of what is happening in the building industry
and where our trade falls into it and differs from it. I encourage you to read more helpful insights from the Industry Outlook and make sure you take full advantage of the NWFA benefits available to you as a member. Consider the NWFA your port in the storm; contact the team at 800.422.4556 or visit today to learn more.

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