AV employment showed its first signs of meaningful growth in the April 2021, jumping from 51.8 in March to 57.2 in April as integrators start to sense a return to more steady work across a variety of vertical markets with more people in the U.S. getting COVID-19 vaccines.
The sales side of the AVIXA Pro-AV Business Index dipped from 61.3 in March to 59.2 in April but AVIXA economic analyst Peter Hansen isn’t concerned because he says the increase is still significant enough for optimism to be the theme of the day.
“That’s actually something we predicted,” says Hansen. “Any time you see a big acceleration, you start to think maybe that was a bit of a lucky month. That’s still a meaningful, large amount of growth. It’s very much in line with what we saw pre-pandemic.
“We finally saw some real acceleration. It represents real growth, a more meaningful bump above 50. It’s a number in line with the employment growth numbers we were seeing before the pandemic,” he said.
Inside the AVIXA Pro-AV Business Index
Why have AV sales numbers been steadily climbing for months but April represents the first meaningful bump for employment?
“We talk about employment as a lagging indicator,” says Hansen. “Companies tend to make those decisions more deliberately. The entire process takes a little while. We’ve had four or five consecutive months of meaningful growth starts to create that push.
“The other reason is the progress we’re seeing to a lot of normalcy. The underlying reality is probably somewhere between the 51.8 and 57.2 We might see something similar in May to what we saw in March and April on the sales side—still better growth than we’ve seen but not a big acceleration,” he says.
With the slow return of crowds to sports arenas, live event venues, theme parks and other public places, such as restaurants and retail stores, Hansen expects to see continued growth on both the sales and employment sides of the Pro-AV Business Index.
“All these in-person spheres for AV are starting to have a little more activity and they’re needing those AV pros, whether it’s for right now or in the future,” he says.
It might be too soon to say the AV industry is in full recovery, says Hansen, but “we’re finally starting to see real momentum.
“We’re at a point where the industry can start to feel a little greedy,” he says. “We can start to see upper 50s and above for sales, mid-50s and above in employment.” Hansen is hoping to see the index hit 70 or higher in the long term.
“We’re hoping for record growth, which I think is possible,” he says. “The growth potential in the next five or six months…I’m optimistic we’re going to hit a record.”