On New Year’s Eve, 2020, many plumbers toasted the end to the unpredictable year. Everyone looked forward to a return to normality in 2021. Uh, yeah. So, what about 2022? Here are 11 predictions for the next year.

1. Energy prices will climb

The government’s war on fossil fuels will continue. Already, domestic crude oil production has plummeted, and the Middle East is not making up the shortfall. Reduced supply of a critical commodity and higher prices will result. Meanwhile, the government’s love affair with green energy will continue, which means still higher energy prices.

2. Inflation will increase

When oil prices rise, the price of just about everything rises. Oil is an input in more than 6,000 products we consume, wear and depend upon every day. When oil is not a product input, it is a cost input due to transportation costs. Prices will rise based on the war on fossil fuels alone. Throw in loose money from the Federal Reserve, combined with wildly out of control deficit spending, and modest inflation becomes significant.

3. Recession will loom

It is dangerous to predict recessions. After all, economists have successfully predicted 20 out of the last two recessions. Nevertheless, as unlikely as it seems, the economy appears to be slowing in its recovery from the pandemic depths and more economists are growing bearish.

4. Fear will continue

The fear porn dished out by the government and media will continue. In all likelihood, there will be new, yet-to-be-named COVID variants. Each will be spun up and presented in the scariest terms possible and used to keep the public and economy under tight government control.

5. Supply chain shortages will be unsolved

The supply chain problems are solvable in the short term, but they won’t be solved until the long term. The various links of the chain are not in-sync with each other. People in one link are not going out of their way to cooperate with people in the next link. We lack leadership in the transportation sector that is necessary to encourage, cajole, browbeat or force cooperation. We will have to wait until the supply chain gradually achieves balance.

Recessions do not affect everyone, only those who allow them. Decide in advance to make 2022 the best year in the company’s history and refuse to accept anything less, and it will happen.

6. Government will grow

The government has grown faster in the past in percentage terms, but not in absolute terms. A growing government is a meddling government, tossing out regulations and red tape that hammers small businesses. This is contributing to the drop in energy production, rising inflation, economic headwinds and supply chain disruptions.

7. Taxes will increase

Contractors will pay more in taxes. Not only will federal taxes increase, but local fees and taxes will increase. The only question is how much and how fast.

8. Worker shortages will continue

The shortage of labor will not abate. It will be harder than ever to persuade people to work, period. Then, you will have to compete with every other company searching for warm bodies. This will up the ante on base pay and benefits.

9. Worker entitlement will increase

If a shortage of labor isn’t bad enough, the combination of millennials’ attitudes and COVID is leading to entitled employees. They do not believe they should be grateful for a job. They think their employers should be grateful they are willing to work.

10. Most contractors will all but give up

Sadly, most contractors will look at all of the headwinds and conclude it’s too much. They will withdraw from the marketplace and hope to survive by saving their way to prosperity while serving existing customers.

11. Some contractors will prosper

The biggest recession will be between the ears of the contractors who decide the world is against them and they cannot prosper. Nonsense. No matter what the economy does, there will always be a need for plumbing. They will take advantage of plumbers who turn turtle and try to hide their way to good times by increasing their marketing and advertising.

Recessions do not affect everyone, only those who allow them. Decide in advance to make 2022 the best year in the company’s history and refuse to accept anything less, and it will happen. Give up or prosper. The choice is yours.

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