April brings a month of meaningful increase in AV employment in AVIXA’s latest Pro AV Business Index. The report also shows a strong growth in sales in April, although a slight deceleration from March. Many of the survey respondents mention COVID-19, but they, especially in the United States, reveal a grain of optimism about increased spending as the pandemic’s threat subsides.
The AV employment index (AVI-E) came in at 57.2 in April, up from 51.8 in March. While it marks the sixth consecutive month of payroll expansion, it is the first one that was more than a couple points above the no-net-growth mark of 50. Despite the observed growth, many commenters highlighted caution around hiring. For now, lingering uncertainty is motivating companies with growing sales to ask more of their existing teams or turn to temporary staffing solutions rather than taking the plunge on new hires. Once confidence builds, AVIXA analysts expect to see the AVI-E consistently above 60. U.S. employment numbers sketched a contrast with the AVI-E, as job growth was disappointingly low at just 266,000—down from 770,000 in March. Since the pandemic, the overall U.S. jobs recovery has been more robust than that of pro AV. The reversal of this comparison is nice for our industry, but robust employment recovery is needed for both the United States and pro AV.
“Our data shows that the jobs recovery has been uneven, with some companies expanding payrolls since the pandemic but others still way down,” said Peter Hansen, economic analyst, AVIXA. “The growing tide of in-person activity should balance the recovery out as hard-hit industries such as live events and entertainment venues finally see major foot traffic and resume AV investments.”
The AV sales index (AVI-S) measured 59.2, a small decrease from 61.3 in March. AVIXA analysts anticipated this since the growth rate observed in March was so much faster than the one in February. Despite the slight deceleration, April still shows strong growth compared to the pre-pandemic era. For example, it’s the same rate of growth observed in January of 2020. Casting an eye toward the future, AVIXA analysts continue to see the solid growth of the spring as setting the stage for faster growth over the summer and into the fall as people resume more normal economic activity.
The Pro AV Business Index report is derived from a monthly survey of the AVIXA Insights Community, a research community of industry members that tracks business trends in commercial AV. The report comprises two diffusion indexes: the AV Sales Index (AVI-S) and the AV Employment Index (AVI-E). In each case, an index above 50 indicates an increase in sales or employment activity.
Visit avixa.org/AVindex to access the free monthly Pro AV Business Index reports and learn more about the methodology. For more information about joining the AVIXA Insights Community, visit avixa.org/AVIP.