Good News for Plumbers! Recent Study Finds Promising Growth in Home Services Sector
Alex "Solar Girl" Steele
When it comes to market-shaping forces, trends at the microeconomic level are often indicative of larger macroeconomic patterns. The home services industry is no stranger to this phenomenon. A recent study by Jobber, a popular job management software, details the trajectory of three distinct categories of home service work. Between cleaning - commercial and residential, pressure-washing, window cleaning and the like; contracting services such as plumbing, electrical and HVAC; and “green” related jobs like landscaping, lawn work and other outdoor services. All three of these sectors experienced growth throughout the third fiscal quarter to the point where they are now reaching pre-pandemic levels. This data is encouraging because it shows confidence in the market on the consumer side as well as positive returns on the business side. Although the pandemic and its subsequent economic tailspin were arduous to get through, this research suggests that we are recovering as a whole, and coming back stronger!
When the stay-at-home orders took effect across the country, contracting jobs were hit hard - newly scheduled work fell by about 23% in April. By May, it was down 25% below 2019 levels. However, thanks to contracting jobs being deemed essential in most parts of the country, the industry was not hit as hard as some other service sectors such as dine-in restaurants and live entertainment. This enabled the contracting industry to push through some of the most difficult periods of the pandemic and subsequent economic crash; despite the tightening financial conditions everyone was experiencing, critical construction work still needed to be done.
Thankfully, by June, the contracting sector was rebounding to 15% year-over-year growth. This uptick wasn’t totally consistent throughout the third quarter - there were some ups and downs throughout the end of the summer and early fall. Now that we are in the fourth quarter, we can look back and conclude that Q3 ended with an average growth of 12% year-over-year. This means we are back to pre-COVID economic growth levels!
In terms of employment, growth has been slower, but steady. Americans experienced record layoffs and job loss this year, and some saw their entire industry fall apart as the risk of COVID-19 forced many businesses to close their doors. The contracting sector was not hit as hard by labor loss, and as a result did not incur a massive dip in employment that other sectors such as clothing retailers and restaurants did. In fact, building services and trade contractors were second only to food and beverage stores in employment resilience - the only sector to experience positive year-over-year growth since the pandemic hit!
This data concludes what many of us in the industry already knew - there will always be a need for plumbers. The work plumbers provide is such a necessary contribution to our communities that we genuinely wouldn’t be where we are today without them. The economy and society as a whole relies on essential labor such as plumbers and other contractors to stay running. If the past year has left you re-evaluating your desired field of employment, or considering what you can do to positively impact the world, consider pursuing work in the home services industry. You could earn a position in a high-demand, well-respected field with no shortage of work, no matter what humanity is up against.