After a three-year slump that has had devastating consequences for those in the floor covering industry, the U.S. housing market is finally showing some encouraging signs of making a recovery. Residential construction spending increased for the third month in a row in November, in all residential categories, according to the latest data from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Notably, single-family construction has increased more than 8% from a year earlier. Improvements also increased for the third month in a row, and were up more than 4% from the previous year. While these increases may seem minor, after the drastic reduction seen in the market during the previous two-year period, they are a welcome indicator that the housing market is in the beginning stages of recovery.

Looking forward, the NAHB forecasts single-family housing starts to increase significantly in the coming two years. While it will likely be some time before the commercial and multi-family segments of the market increase, any increase is most welcomed at this point in time.

All factors considered, it is inevitable that the housing market will see a recovery in the coming years. When it does, there will be a tremendous need for skilled installers, as there is already a shortage in many areas.

With unemployment levels hovering at record high levels, it may seem hard to believe that there is a shortage of skilled installers, but that is exactly the case. As older, more skilled installers have retired and left the workforce for other reasons such as injury and disability, there haven’t been enough young people training and entering the field to replace them. 

When the housing recovery comes, will you have the skills and knowledge necessary to compete in this rapidly changing field? If not, now is the time to prepare by learning the latest installation products and the techniques necessary to install them correctly.

This issue marks an important time for our industry, as Surfaces, the largest flooring tradeshow in North America, will be held Jan. 25-27 in Las Vegas. In addition to featuring the latest flooring and installation-related products, the show also features numerous installation demonstrations for all types of flooring. For the first time ever, Floor Covering Installer will feature video coverage of the installation-related events at Surfaces, including the latest products, installation demonstrations and interviews with leading figures in the industry as well as some of your favorite FCI columnists. Be sure to visit our web site,, during and after the show to see these exclusive videos. We hope this information will help you to be better prepared to compete for the work that will be coming as the housing recovery gains momentum.