What does the election results mean for our industry?
Survey results from the industry community.
While President Obama carried virtually all the “swing states” in his successful re-election campaign, the plumbing, mechanical, and HVAC industry is in a downbeat mood following the November election.
An informal survey of industry professionals conducted by Perspective Media found that 70 percent of the industry community feels the president’s re-election will have a negative effect on the industry, while only 20 percent feel it will have a positive effect. Another 11 percent feel there will be little impact one way or the other. Respondents to the mid-November survey included contractors, engineers, wholesalers, manufacturer’s representatives, manufactures, inspectors, associations, educators and trainers. To get a clear perspective, we have included some responses on how many industry professionals view the election results will impact the industry.
“Small businesses have already been negatively affected over the past four years with the policies of this administration,” said one Florida manufacturer’s rep. “More of the same will only make it worse! I expect to see another recession as a result of the inflexible attitude of this administration to work across the aisle. If you compare the Obama policy to the Reagan policy, they were polar opposites, as are the results.”
A Wisconsin manufacturer said, “The current administration believes the only way to reduce the debt is to raise taxes. This will have a negative affect on the economy as many homeowners and business owners alike prepare for tougher times.”
The industry responses were similar on a second question, “How will the election results will affect your business, company or job?” Fifty percent responded negatively, 23 percent were positive and the rest said there would be little effect or were not sure.
“The expected loss of confidence might cause investors and manufacturers to back off from the boost early this year,” said one Florida manufacturer. “Such a blip in confidence and investing could claim the life of many small business operators in the plumbing/mechanical trades before it is restored.”
A Florida engineer criticized the Obama administration for failing to create promised jobs, while spending government money overseas. A manufacturer’s rep added, “I doubt that any industry will see a positive impact from the re-election of Obama. All those people complaining about there being no jobs who are looking for work will only see more companies close or move to other countries where taxes are lower and regulations are more reasonable.”
Responding to another question regarding the impact on the nation’s economy over the next few years, a Wisconsin contractor said, “The economy will decline, fewer jobs will be available, people will become more dependent on government subsidies and eventually those subsidies will dry up because there will be fewer companies to pay the taxes that provide those subsidies. We are falling into a black hole.”
A wide range of concerns
Much of the post-election concern focused on over-regulation of the business community. “Industry is seen as a cash source for government and will see increasing regulation, said a Wisconsin contractor. “That is NOT a positive development.”
A Florida contractor added that the high level of regulation from Washington will “slow down and stop the growth we have seen as of late.”
Referring to the regulatory burden, another Florida decision-maker said, “I see our manufacturers revisiting their commitment to American-made products.”
Others pointed to a negative impact on consumers and private investors. “Spending of discretionary income will be reduced, which will impact both industry and construction,” said a Wisconsin contractor.
A Florida contractor agreed, saying, “The work on the commercial side will continue to be slow as investors are not sure what to expect.
Pointing to a reduction in government construction projects, a Florida engineer said, “The military contracting business will suffer due to the weakening of our military. Existing small business will suffer and new small business will be suppressed.”
A Florida manufacturer added, “Residential will stumble in an attempt to re-start, however, the lack of buyers will continue to drag on the residential market.”
Some positive responses
Although a smaller segment, there were a number of respondents that felt positive about the election outcome. “Housing continues to improve in Minnesota with increased sales and higher home prices,” said a manufacturer’s rep. “Recent news reports indicate there is a big need for contractors and plumbers now, so I feel positive about the outcome.”
An industry professional from Florida also felt there would be “a positive impact with the continued growth.”
Another manufacturer’s rep added, “All signs have been trending upward for sometime now and we feel optimistic that positive impetus will continue going forward. We’re hopeful those in Washington will now work together for a balanced approach to solving our pressing issues.”
Impact on hiring
Another survey question asked, “If you’re a decision-maker for your company, how will the results affect your workforce in 2013?” Of the respondents, 50 percent said they were likely to decrease their workforce and about 7 percent said they would increase their workforce. The others said the election outcome would have little effect on their plans or were not sure of what they will do.
The key issues for most decision-makers appeared to revolve around taxes and the increased financial burden of employee health insurance. “Healthcare and costs are growing. Tax increases and the uncertainty of the economy will slow growth even more,” said one Florida manufacturer’s rep. Another said, “After they force all small business out of this country, the only jobs left will be for regulators!” Echoing that comment, a Wisconsin manufacturer’s rep. said, “If tax and spend continues as the current administration has previously demonstrated, then I think all people who earn an income will be affected more than anyone expects.” Another Wisconsin decision-maker said, “Healthcare alone and the expenses that will be incurred due to Obamacare will probably not allow for new hires.” Another industry professional added, “As we have to pay for out-of-control spending and a government healthcare system, we will need to pay for new taxes out of profits, which means layoffs. Noting that construction in Florida has been slow, an engineer noted that “many architectural and engineering firms have scaled back to the bare minimum workforce.” Another said, “We will not look at hiring based on the uncertainty of what is in front of us with health care and taxes. We have concerns of another recession.” Laying out the concerns of his company, a Wisconsin business owner said. ”We are about to weaken America and strengthen countries like China, Brazil, Central America etc. Companies will not expand, they will cut out full-time employees and hire part timers to avoid the healthcare bill. The next option will probably be to not offer healthcare at all and opt for the fine rather than pay for something that will consume all their profits.” Summing up the feelings of many respondents, a Wisconsin wholesaler said, “It’s time to run this country like a responsible business leader runs his or her company.”
The survey results show most industry professionals feel discouraged and see a negative impact on our on industry because of the re-election of President Obama and the overall election results. However, President Obama was still re-elected into office for a second term and proves the great divide that exists in our country. There is very little middle ground left as most individuals in America reside fully on one side of the issue or the other. So what does this mean for 2013 and beyond for our industry? We’ll let you decide. In fact, according to many of you in the industry, you already have. Time will tell quickly in 2013.
Survey Snapshot from the Industry
Do you believe the re-election of President Obama will have a positive, negative, or have little affect on our industry?
Have little affect 11.1%
Not sure yet 0.0%
What impact do you believe the re-election of President Obama will have on our nation’s economy over the next few years?
Have little affect 7.4%
Not sure yet 3.7%
How will the election results affect your business, company, or job?
Have little affect 7.4%
Not sure yet 18.5%
If you’re a decision maker for your company, do you believe the results of the election will have an affect on your workforce in 2013?
Likely to increase workforce 7.4%
Likely to decrease workforce 48.1%
Have little affect on workforce 18.5%
Not sure yet 22.2%
No response 3.7%