Construction Slows, Virtual Offices Grow

Several interesting economic indicators were released this week that have ramifications for U.S. employers: jobless claims decline, manufacturing surges and construction starts slow. What does all this mean for the virtual office? Good news.

The number of U.S. workers filing new unemployment claims declined by 6,000 last week. That means the economy is bleeding fewer jobs and may signal the beginnings of a recovery. But that’s not the only positive sign.

The Institute for Supply Management’s index of national factory activity rose to 59.6. That’s the highest since July 2004. Any number over 50 indicates manufacturing expansion. It’s too soon to tell how this is impacting cities like Detroit, Cleveland and Houston, but it bodes well for the big picture.

While all of this news could drive greater use of virtual offices, it’s the next economic indicator released this week that could have the greatest impact. U.S. construction spending declined for the fourth consecutive month in February, according to the Commerce Department. Construction is at its slowest rate in nearly eight years.

What does this mean? Fewer homes are being built in Miami, fewer retail outlets are underway in Chicago—and fewer office buildings are being constructed in Los Angeles. With virtual offices, it doesn’t make any difference if construction slows. Virtual offices don’t rely on bricks-and-mortar to the same extent that traditional office space does.

Virtual offices do offer conference rooms, meeting rooms, day offices and other on-site business amenities, but since most people who use virtual offices work from home or from the road most of the time, the virtual office industry can continue expanding even when the rest of the economy isn’t.

Virtual offices are an affordable alternative to physical office space. Laid off executives can rely on virtual offices to boot-strap a new business venture. Manufacturing companies looking to expand a sales force into a new territory can tap into virtual offices to present a professional business image. Virtual offices offer everything entrepreneurs and companies need to continue growing as the economy begins its recovery.


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