It’s often been said that all business is local. In the electrical industry, each individual local market has its own unique profile, and it requires companies to allocate their investments in sales time, inventory and capital investments differently from market-to-market. In a market data sense, I like to think of these profiles as one-of-a-kind mosaics made up of individual data points that fit together to create an economic picture of the market as a whole.
This month’s cover story, “Market Metrics to Measure 2022” (page 14), digs into the data points you can use to measure a local market’s growth potential. To make our picks in this article for the fastest-growing local markets, EW’s editors analyze trends in data available from the U.S. Census Bureau (www.census.gov), U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (www.bea.gov) These economic indicators are:
- Electrical contractor employment
- Industrial employment
- Population growth
- Single-family building permits
- Multi-family building permits
- Unemployment data
- Wages & salaries
- Gross Metropolitan Product
We looked at this data on a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), county and state level and compared it to the national averages to get a sense of where each market stands. I won’t give away which metros made our “25 Hot Metros to Watch in 2022” list in the article on page 15, but they crushed the national average for all of our favorite local economic indicators.
For instance, population growth has a massive direct impact on electrical product demand at the local level. When hundreds of new residents move into a local market, it creates a ton of demand for the electrical products that need to be installed in new homes, apartments, strip shopping centers, hospitals and medical buildings, schools and all sorts of other commercial and institutional construction.
We like to look at the trends in the five-year population change data from the U.S. Census Bureau and compare them to the U.S. national rate of change. From 2015 to 2020, the U.S. population as a whole grew +2.7%, adding 8.7 million new residents. It blows my mind to see that 51 MSAs had a growth rate of triple that — +8.1% or better — over the past five years. They were led by the St. George, UT MSA (+19.4%); Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NC MSA (+19.2%); and The Villages, FL MSA (+18.6%).
It’s no surprise to see many of the MSAs that add the most new residents year-after -year also building the most new single-family homes. When we look at permit data and population counts, we like to calculate building activity on the basis of single-family permits per 1,000 residents to compare local markets of all sizes on an equal basis. In this exercise, The Villages MSA and the Myrtle Beach metro are ranked #1 and #2, respectively.
Another to way to develop a local market profile is to look its monthly employment data by type of business and calculate the percentage that industry accounts for of its total employment. For example, if you want to see which market areas have the highest percentage of industrial business, calculate industrial employment or industrial wages and salaries as a percentage of a market’s total employment, and do the same comparison at the national level.
When we did this using the wage & salary data available from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, we found that the industrial market accounts for a huge percentage of the total local economies of three MSAs in Indiana — Elkhart-Goshen, IN; Columbus, IN; and Kokomo, IN. With industrial wages and salaries in all three MSAs grabbing at least 59% of total earnings, they were many times the national figure of a 11.5% share for the industrial market.
If you want to find more high-growth markets for 2022, a $99 investment in an annual subscription to Electrical Marketing (www.electricalmarketing.com) can’t be beat.