Rounding up 2008
January 1, 2009
COMMERCIAL, RETAIL, AUTO, FABRICATION : TRENDS & ANALYSIS
As we say farewell to 2008 and greet 2009, Glass Magazine editors take a look back at the events that impacted the glass industry the most last year.
The economy, clearly, influenced all industry segments in 2008. Wall Street rang out its worst year since the Great Depression on Dec. 31, 2008, leaving shareholders $6.9 trillion poorer, according to an article in The Washington Post. The S&P 500's stock index took a double-digit hit in every sector, and the Dow set new records for its three largest single-day point gains and two steepest point losses after swinging hundreds of points an hour during some sessions.
Taken together, all of the world's stocks lost 48 percent last year, according to the article.
Unemployment remained historically high, and rates for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage fell to 5.1 percent, the lowest since Freddie Mac began tracking that data in 1971. The housing market remains weak and home values have plummeted, according to The Post article.
The sinking economy took a huge toll on the Big Three automakers, who came hats in hand to Washington, D.C, to ask for federal handouts.
The credit crunch and a hike in the raw material prices for glass also did a number on the industry last year. Scroll down to read about plant shutdowns, layoffs, consolidations and restructurings resulting from the economic upheaval.
Weakening residential and automotive markets resulted in a float glass demand decline for three straight years through 2008, based on the declining end-use markets. This is expected to continue into 2009.
Other factors that influenced the glass industry: Building Information Modeling and green technology, especially in terms of opportunities for glass industries in the solar energy field. glasstec 2008 featured a solar theme, while Ecobuild 2008 revolved around BIM. Several glass companies, including Arch Aluminum & Glass Co., Salem Distributing Co. and Glaston, opened solar units.
Read about the publisher's opinion of last year's top 10 jolts in the glass industry.
Below are the most-clicked headlines from last year:
Nickel sulfide in library façade causes legal issues
Investigators look into broken windows at New York Times building
AGC: Credit freeze, economic slump chill construction
ASTM to develop skylight standard to prevent falls and fatalities
Aluminum prices to increase more than 30 percent
Company to honor plane crash victims
Cardinal Glass cited for safety violations
MIT turning windows into solar panels
AGC to restructure
Progress in vacuum glazing research continues with Guardian’s product
PPG declares force majeure on glass products
C.R. Laurence continues acquisition strategy with Sommer & Maca purchase
House passes economic recovery package
Credit turmoil halts some projects
Glass prices, fuel surcharges on the rise
Belron US to acquire assets of Diamond Glass
PPG completes sales of automotive glass business
ROLAGS votes to limit crack repair to 6 inches
EU levels hefty fine on car glass makers
Belron to buy Cindy Rowe