From the Fabricator: Forecasting Volatility

I study a ton of forecasting data. Some of it I can easily understand, and some has me in an utter state of confusion. Right now, we are in one of those times where the forecasting details may not be matching reality, both good and bad. Some regions in North America are exceeding what was predicted and some are falling short. It’s been a tough one to get straight.

This week, I found an interesting release from Dodge Data and Analytics that looked at commercial starts in 2017 versus what happened in 2016. The immediate surprise for me was the New York region—so amazingly hot for many in our world—was down again in 2017 versus 2016, and way off of the 2015 results. Also down in year-over-year were Los Angeles, Dallas, Washington, D.C., and Miami. All of those markets have been booming. Up in 2017 were San Francisco, Philadelphia, Orlando, Austin, and San Diego. What does this mean? Starts usually do not affect our work until a year later or longer. Could this possibly be a signal of things to come in those markets, or a reason why it’s been a very inconsistent business phase for some? The whole piece is worth the read.


  • And while we are looking at the forecasts, the Architectural Billings Index continues to be incredible. The January performance was the best January showing since 2007. Three of the four regions looked at were very strong, with the Northeast lagging behind. I will admit when I see comparisons to 2007, I do start to sweat some, as it wasn’t too long after those amazing days in 2007 that the bottom fell out. I am not saying it is happening here, but it surely gives me pause.

  • BEC is kicking off this coming weekend, and it looks like more than 500 people will be there. I am looking forward to catching up with friends, networking and learning about what’s new, exciting and hot these days. Obviously, I’ll be reporting back here and posting on Twitter. If you are attending, I look forward to seeing you.

  • The GANA-NGA merger is done, and I was very impressed by the video message that NGA President and CEO Nicole Harris released recently. It is a quick piece where she outlines her thoughts on the deal, and I love the use of the video medium. It is a great way to continue to reach additional audiences. 

  • Two Amazon-related items to end the week. First, I went into a Whole Foods for the first time in many, many years. When you have my body and eating habits, that is not a place to frequent. In any case, I was blown away at the amount of specialty foods available and the costs of them. Now I know why a buddy of mine calls that place Whole Paycheck.

  • Also, the news surrounding the new Amazon HQ 2 continues with word that the new betting favorite is Dallas. From the start I have been on Dallas and Atlanta as the choices, so we’ll see if that happens. But supposedly there was a major spike in housing searches in Dallas from people in Seattle, so that set the rumors on fire.

Read on for links and video of the week…

The author is founder of Sole Source Consultants, a consulting firm for the building products industry that specializes in marketing, branding, communication strategy and overall reputation management, as well as website and social media, and codes and specifications.

E-mail him at The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.


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