The 2015 Industry Pulse: Employment Outlook: Staffing & Training

Emily Kay Thompson
January 28, 2015

Figures 7, 8, 9A and 9BEmployment trends took a positive turn among window and door manufacturers and dealers in 2014, according to the results of our Industry Pulse survey. Fifty three percent of survey respondents increased their workforce in 2014, while 40 percent maintained their current staff. Only 7 percent of survey participants decreased their staff last year. (See Figure 7)

This confers with—and, perhaps, contributes to—the national employment averages. According to the most current news release at press time from the Bureau of Labor Statistics/U.S. Department of Labor, throughout 2014, “the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons were down by 1.2 percentage points and 1.7 million, respectively.” The current unemployment rate (at press time) is 5.8 percent.

Peripheral to our industry, yet representative of the window and door trade, the report cited that employment in retail trade rose by 50,000 in November 2014, compared with an average gain of 22,000 per month over the prior 12 months, and manufacturing added 28,000 jobs.

Perhaps more indicative of our industry, construction employment was also reported to continue an up-trend in November 2014. The BLS accounts that employment in specialty trade contractors rose by 21,000, mostly in the residential component. Since November of 2013, construction has added 213,000 jobs, with just over half the gain among specialty trade contractors, as of November, 2014.

Labor challenges

Despite the challenges associated with hiring new employees—namely, the lack of qualified candidates (see Figure 8)—the majority of surveyed companies report that the hiring trend from last year will continue. While budget constraints are also a major detriment to employment goals, according to the study, 77 percent of dealers and manufacturers surveyed say they are at least considering, if not planning, to add new staff in 2015 (see Figures 9A and 9B).

The 2015 Industry Pulse

Main Article

Market Recap

Did 2014 live up to its expectations? Stacey Freed investigates

Terms of Improvement

Positive factors for 2015

Product Trends and Innovation

Expected introductions in the New Year

Employment Outlook

Staffing and training trends throughout the industry

Thompson is editor in chief of Window + Door,, and WDweekly. Write her at