Despite the gloomy, nearly apocalyptic tone on the U.S. presidential campaign trail, the U.S. labor market has been growing steadily in recent years. This March, the U.S. is celebrating 72 consecutive months of job growth, and in total more than 14 million private sector jobs have been created in the last six years.
Still, U.S. workers are justified in feeling anxious, as the country continues to lose many jobs to foreign employers.
The global heating, ventilation and air conditioning industry (HVAC) has also been growing in recent years. And while that international growth can be good for the U.S. HVAC industry, it also means more global competition. In February, two Indiana HVAC plants announced that they would be closing, with at least one of the companies picking up and moving operations across the southern border to Mexico. In total, the plant closures cost the state 2,100 jobs.
Americans spend billions on heating and cooling each month, and the country is home to an estimated 81,246 heating and cooling businesses, which generate a combined $65 billion in revenue annually.
China’s new focus on efficiency is expected to help push the global HVAC industry to a healthy 7% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the next five years. Here in the United States, a number of HVAC companies are already having a banner year.
This March, the Atlanta-based Coolray announced that it would be partnering with three other HVAC companies to form a new national home HVAC company, The Wrench Group.
“This move will allow us to take the lessons learned by the best home services companies in the nation and expand our footprint and revenue to new metropolitan cities where we see great opportunity,” said Coolray CEO Ken Haines in a statement.
At the same time, the Maryland-based private equity firm American Capital is selling HVAC company Service Experts for $340 million to a Canadian company. Enercare is selling $218 million in securities and taking on $200 million more in debt to finance the deal.
While some HVAC manufacturing jobs have moved to countries like Mexico, there will always be demand for skilled workers to install and repair residential and commercial heating and cooling systems domestically. So far in 2016, the U.S. HVAC industry is seeing the kind of slow-but-steady growth characteristic of the Obama economy writ large.