Trump Continues to Pressure the Fed Amid US, China Trade Wars

The pressure continues for the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates, according to Reuters. President Trump on Aug. 21 said on Twitter he remains frustrated with Chair of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell, stating the U.S. should not "count on him!" Trump also said the policies were infringing on U.S. growth and the trade deals with China. These ...
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The Fight Against Fraud Continues in US, UK

Just as businesses beef up security, fraud evolves and strikes companies when they least expect it, sending security teams back to the drawing board. The latest attacks are affecting businesses in the U.S. and U.K. On Aug. 11, Financial Times reported a rise in cyber insurance policy claims in both countries. In the U.S., companies are learning abo...
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Housing Starts Fall During July

U.S. housing starts fell during the month of July, making this the third consecutive month of falling starts, according to a recent article by Reuters. The biggest decline was seen in multi-family units. Despite these shortcomings, permits reached a seven-month high, offering some hope in the housing market. In total, housing starts dropped 4%, adj...
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GCC Businesses Searching for Alternative Financing

Access to financing is hurting businesses within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). According to credit insurer Coface, financial conditions across the GCC are tighter now than before 2015, and bank credit conditions are forcing companies to look elsewhere for financing. Bank credit conditions in the Middle East and North Africa tightened during t...
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July Construction Input Prices Improve Yet Remain Worrisome

Construction input prices experienced a modest comeback in July, but results have left some builders unsettled with the year-over-year (YOY) findings. Despite the 0.8% expansion month-over-month (MoM), input prices fell more than half a percent YOY in part by notable declines in natural gas, unprocessed energy materials, crude petroleum and softwoo...
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Dodge Momentum Index Declines in July

The Dodge Momentum Index continues to decline after peaking in July 2018. The Index, released earlier this week by Dodge Data & Analytics, slipped 4.6% in July from the revised June reading. The index measures the first report of nonresidential building projects in the planning phase, resulting in an indication of nonresidential spending for a ...
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July Shows Modest Gain in Construction Jobs

Job growth in the construction industry continues to thrive after another month of increases in July, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) reported on Aug. 2. With a year-over-year (YOY) increase of nearly 3%, 4,000 net new jobs were added to the industry last month, bringing the YOY change to 202,000. However, there was a decline in jobs in p...
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US to Impose 10% Tariff on List Four Chinese Goods

The U.S. announced Aug. 1 it will impose a 10% tariff on $300 billion of Chinese goods beginning Sept. 1. This leaves businesses with just under a month to prepare, although negotiations are set to continue. The tariffs will impact list four goods. President Trump said he will meet with negotiators again in early September, according to Supply Chai...
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Construction Spending Declines in June

Construction spending is on the decline in the U.S. Construction spending dropped 1.3% in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.287 trillion, according to a release from the Census Bureau earlier this week. June's data is also 2.1% below the June 2018 estimate. A decrease in public works projects and wet weather are the likely culprits be...
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Cyberattacks Have Lasting Impacts on Small Businesses, Local Governments

Just as a storm can have a lasting impact on a community, cybersecurity experts say cyberattacks on small businesses and local governments can often leave a lasting path of destruction, making it difficult even after the affected have recuperated. For example, Symantec's Modern OS Security team released findings in early July that exposed a long-te...
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West Coast Imports Decline in June, Tariffs a Suspect to Blame

West Coast imports declined in the month of June, which may be tied to recent trade wars and tariffs. Notably, the Port of Long Beach saw a 13% decline year-over-year (YOY) in June, along with the Port of Oakland and the Northwest Seaport Alliance which saw a 6% drop YOY in June, according to Supply Chain Dive. These numbers have been offset by a 3...
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Construction Contractors’ Confidence Holds Steady in May

Fresh into the dog days of summer, the U.S. construction industry is assessing contractors' confidence levels for nonresidential construction. According to Associated Builders and Contractors' (ABC) latest Construction Confidence Index (CCI) results in May, contractors are optimistic about sales expectations in the near future, yet show some uncert...
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Existing-Home Sales Fall Short in June

Existing-home sales are on the decline following an uptick in the previous month, and sales were slower than expected. The National Association of Realtors reports sales declined 1.7% in June from May, and are down 2.2% from a year ago. "Home sales are running at a pace similar to 2015 levels—even with exceptionally low mortgage rates, a record num...
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Chinese Tariffs Discourage US Fashion Companies

A recent report by the U.S. Fashion Industry Association revealed the U.S.-China trade war has pushed U.S. companies to reduce how much they source from China. Up by more than 15% from 2018, 83% said they plan on reducing their sourcing from China. The companies also cited U.S. protectionism and rising production costs as some of the main strains o...
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Progress on US and Chinese Trade Talks Remains Slow

Agriculture is the most recent point of contention between the U.S. and China, with President Trump off-put by China's "lack of agricultural concessions" and requests to ease up on trade restrictions, according to a recent article by Bloomberg. Trump said China did not boost their purchases of American farm products, despite the fact that President...
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Monthly, Yearly Construction Input Prices Stumble in June

Monthly fluctuations are common, which is why construction economists weren't surprised to see a decrease in June's construction input prices. What experts didn't expect was the same decrease in year-over-year readings for the first time in nearly three years. On July 12, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) reported a 1.3% decrease in month-o...
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Las Vegas Stadium Hit with Nonpayment Suit

The under-construction Las Vegas Stadium is facing another hiccup. While the project continues to power through steel work, with substantial completion just weeks away, the future home of the Oakland Raiders is facing a lawsuit. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, a subcontractor filed suit claiming it's owed $2.8 million. Las Vegas Stadium ...
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Billtrust Adds to Its Payment Network

Business-to-business order-to-cash solutions firm Billtrust continued to add to its Business Payments Network (BPN) earlier this week. A month after adding Comdata to the BPN, Billtrust welcomed Priority Commercial Payments in a release on July 10. "As like-minded FinTechs focused on converting paper check to digital forms of commerce, we are well-...
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Construction Job Growth Climbs Higher in June

Job growth is continuing to rise in the construction industry, where 21,000 net new jobs were added in June. Based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) reported a total of 7,508,000 construction jobs last month—a 3.1% increase over June 2018. "Today's employment numbers indicate the economy is ...
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US Proposes Tariffs on EU Imports, Mostly Food

The U.S. proposed tariffs on goods from the European Union, totaling $4 billion, according to a recent article by Supply Chain Dive. Many of the items on the list are food-related—cheese, olives, meats, pasta and whiskey—but some metals and chemicals made the list as well. Most of the controversy surrounding these tariffs stems from a dispute over ...
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