Construction Jobs Maintain Monthly Growth but Future Uncertain

Jobs in the construction industry rose minimally in May but garnered a 3% year-over-year (YOY) increase, according to Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). In its assessment of the latest labor statistics data, ABC reported an additional 4,000 net new construction jobs were added in May, while the overall number of jobs increased to 215,000 co...
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Trade Talks with Mexico Continue Amid Tariff Threats

​ Negotiations between the U.S. and Mexico were set to resume June 6 after President Donald Trump said "not nearly enough" progress was made during a meeting between American officials and Mexico's foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, according to a recent article by Bloomberg. The tariffs are set to be implemented June 10, leaving little time for fur...
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Sears Bankruptcy Creates More Challenges for Suppliers

The most successful business-supplier relationship is one of reliability. When one of the parties fails to hold its own, the relationship becomes harder to maintain and may even suffer as is the case with retailer Sears and its vendors. Sears first filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October 2018, and about a month later, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court appro...
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Accounting Error Leads to Fraud Investigation at Metro Bank

When credit managers hear the word "fraud," some will jump to the conclusion that the perpetrators are adversaries outside the company. However, in the case of Metro Bank in the U.K., investors allege that securities fraud has taken place within the bank in addition to "other unlawful business practices." According to The Guardian, two New York-bas...
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April New Single-Family Home Sales Drop After March Rise

Unable to maintain March's upward trajectory, new single-family home sales dropped nearly 7% in April as experts try to pinpoint the cause behind this change in course. According to a National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) report on May 23, the decline in April sales led to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 673,000 units, following March's...
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Brick and Mortar Retailers’ Future Uncertain Amid Tariff Hikes

Although online shopping has been a constant roadblock for brick and mortar retailers, the latest revelations in the U.S.-Chinese trade war debacle is proving to be yet another hurdle for retailers nationwide, according to financial services firm UBS. President Donald Trump announced last week that the administration will raise tariffs to 25% on $2...
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‘Little Reason’ to Worry Over Construction Input Price Increases

To the dismay of contractors, construction input prices saw nearly a 1% increase in April over the prior month, with a substantial increase in pricing year over year (YOY) at 2.4%. On May 9, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) reported price hikes in four of 11 subcategories in April, while seven declined. According to ABC's analysis of the U...
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Residential, Nonresidential Construction Jobs Show Signs of Improvement

The construction industry saw a modest gain in new jobs in April with a 3.5% increase in the past year. According to Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 33,000 new net jobs were added between March and April 2019. Since April 2018, open positions in residential building grew by nearly 5% to 39,000 addi...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for May 1, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Consumers Upbeat Again Those fickle consumers are at it again. As the year started, there was a sense that consumers were starting to lose their enthusiasm and the various consumer confidence polls reinforced that assumption. All of the major ones were down, although not in the doldrums as compared to where they...
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Construction Fraud Leads to Guilty Plea in California

Construction fraud strikes again, this time in California, where two siblings admitted to fraud and embezzlement against the California State Compensation Insurance Fund between January 2012 and March 2017, with a loss of more than $500,000. According to Construction Dive, the owner and office manager—brother and sister, respectively—at Ultimate, I...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for April 26, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Unexpected and Welcomed News As discussed later in this issue, there had been a sense that economic growth was falling off at the end of last year and at the start of this one. The part that was not as clear was what has been happening lately. By most accounts, the beginning of the second quarter was strong...
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Low Prices Attributed to Increase New Home Sales in March

While housing starts declined for the second month in a row in March, new single-family home sales reached its highest recording in nearly two years. According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), new home sales climbed to an annual rate of 692,000 homes, which NAHB Chairman Greg Ugalde said was related to affordable pricing. The av...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for April 24, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Not All Housing Data is Bleak Earlier in the week, the data on existing home sales was not all that encouraging and it was asserted that all those housing headwinds were taking their toll. Now comes the data on new home sales and it tells a far different story, with a gain of 4.5% as compared to the expected dec...
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US Legislation Introduced to Shorten Payment Times Between Government and SMBs

Around the globe, countries are taking notice of late payments impact on business. In 2018, the U.K. introduced legislation to ensure small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) get paid on time. In early 2019, Australia introduced legislation to address late supplier payments. Now, the U.S. is joining the ranks with legislation to shorten the payment...
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