Pro AV sales showed some big-time signs of life in August, while industry employment continued a three-month cycle of slow growth, according to the latest Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association (AVIXA) monthly Pro-AV Business Index.
In the monthly report, the Pro-AV Sales index jumped from 50.9 in July to 58.4 in August, while the Pro-AV Employment Index dipped from 57.7 to 54.6 from July to August. The index measures the health of the industry, based on how many firms either stayed the same or grew at least 5 percent.
Any number above 50 is an indication of a healthy market.
The employment index has dropped slightly every month since May, says AVIXA director of market research James Chu. It’s a reflection of a combination of economic factors, he says.
“It’s harder to get qualified workers with unemployment low [4.3 percent],” says Chu.
AVIXA senior director of market intelligence Sean Wargo agreed, noting the effort to find qualified workers is “particularly challenging in tech sectors.” The double-edged sword is with sales on the rise, “you don’t want to be short-staffed when your business is growing.”
“Many panelists are seeing workforce shortage as their business expands, and are having more difficulties finding qualified staffing to support the growth,” according to the September Pro-AV Index overview, which tracks the findings for August. “In fact, nearly three-quarters (74.2 percent) of the panel reported that their staffing remains unchanged this month compared with just over half (53.6 percent) the previous month.”
Companies across the pro AV space are focusing more on certification and training in “an active effort to build the industry,” says Wargo.
The Pro-AV Business Index has now reached one year of data, launching in September 2016, but Chu says it’s too soon to read any trends into the month-to-month numbers. He’s unsure how Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria, among other issues, will affect next year’s results.
Wargo agrees, saying sometimes there’s a bit of “a grieving period” after crises, “then optimism about rebuilding.” With the summer over, the normal cycle is to see “business picking up again,” he says.
With the holiday shopping season coming soon, Chu and Wargo see the retail market as one that should pick up in the final quarter of the year. The corporate market could also be strong as companies that have money left in their annual budgets will be looking to spend it before rolling into a new year.
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