Coronavirus Sparks Rise in Fraud

Where there's a will, there's a way, and fraudsters are taking that proverb to heart amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. According to cybersecurity firm Proofpoint Inc., phishing attacks have increased dramatically since January as criminals send emails posing as legitimate businesses.Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported Proofpoint'...
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Construction Input Prices Down as ABC Predicts Global Recession

To the delight of construction professionals, input prices dropped more than half of a percent in February, specifically 0.6% for nonresidential construction. Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Chief Economist Anirban Basu said although this news is generally welcomed with open arms, "there can be too much of a good thing," especially consid...
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Nonresidential Construction Employment Holds Steady in February, but Industry Must Brace for Coronavirus’ Impact

Employment in the construction industry thrived in February with the addition of 42,000 net new jobs, displaying a substantial increase year-over-year (YOY). Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) reported the annual gain showed an expansion of 223,000 jobs.According to the latest ABC report, nonresidential construction led the charge against un...
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"Shark Tank" Entrepreneur Suffers $400,000 Loss After Email Scam

There's no better motivator to learn the signs of fraud than financial loss. This was the case for businesswoman and "Shark Tank" entrepreneur Barbara Corcoran who lost nearly $400,000 to an invoice email scam reported last week.According to People, an invoice was emailed to Corcoran's bookkeeper, "approving the payment for a real estate renovation...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for February 19, 2020

By Chris Kuehl, Ph.D., NACM Economist—Short Items of Interest—US EconomyTrump Reversal?If you are having a hard time figuring out the Trump approach to China trade, you are not alone. In the last couple of years, it has been a mix of tactics without a discernible pattern. In many respects, it seems to reflect an internal battle between advisors, as...
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Machines Could Replace Millions of Construction Jobs By 2057

Technology implementation is running rampant in many industries but has not yet fully taken hold in the construction sector. A study from the Midwest Economic Policy Institute (MEPI) shows that may very well change in the next four decades, as machines could replace as many as 2.7 million construction jobs by 2057.Earlier this month, Construction D...
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Chinese Businesses Impacted by Coronavirus Request Bank Loans Exceeding $8 Billion

With no end in sight, the coronavirus has become problematic for businesses throughout China that remain closed as the virus sweeps across the country—the death toll recently exceeding 1,100. On Feb. 10, Reuters reported more than 300 Chinese companies are hoping to soften the blow from the outbreak by requesting billions of dollars in bank loans.T...
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Construction Employment Thrives in January

Construction employment continued rising in the new year, adding 44,000 net new jobs in January. Based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industry grew nearly 2% year-over-year, exceeding 140,000 jobs.According to Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), nonresidential construction employment made up more than half of the gain ...
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China Combats Coronavirus by ‘Supplying Cash to Money Markets’

Since the first reports of the outbreak in January, the coronavirus continues to take a toll on the Chinese economy and, in turn, the global economy. On Feb. 3, The New York Times (NYT) cited statistics from Oxford Economics, predicting China's economic growth to fall from last year's 6.1% to 5.6% in 2020. By all accounts, such a dramatic decline w...
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Evolved Email Scam Threatens Companies’ Vendors

Attention all credit professionals! By now, the majority of you are at least familiar with the business email compromise (BEC) scam used by fraudsters to gain access to company information—usually finances—in the guise of an email from a fellow employee, e.g., manager, CEO, etc. However, scammers are no longer just after companies; they after compa...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for January 22, 2020

By Chris Kuehl, Ph.D., NACM Economist—Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy The Chore GapThere has been quite a lot of attention devoted to some of the gender gap issues—everything from pay differences to promotions. Relatively little attention has been paid to the "chore gap," but some studies reveal this issue has a direct impact on some of the bi...
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Builder Confidence Holds 20-Year High, Despite January Dip

Following January's slight dip in newly built single-family home builders' confidence, economists are optimistic about future home building gains given the latest readings are at their highest in 20 years. Builder confidence readings in December and January were last seen in July 1999, the latter's score inching one point lower to 75.According to t...
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Nonresidential Construction Employment Ends 2019 on a High Note

The nonresidential construction sector ended 2019 with a bang, adding 20,000 net new jobs—an increase of more than 150,000 jobs (2%) compared to the prior year.In a month-over-month (MoM) analysis by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), the data revealed an employment increase of 16,700 jobs last month, most notably in nonresidential specialt...
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Single-Family Housing Hit Hard in 2010s

As a decade ends, another begins, but that isn't to say there aren't lessons to learn. According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the 2010s stands out to the construction industry because of the drastic drop in single-family home production, down from 12.3 million units in the 2000s to 6.8 in the 2010s. The decline is even more ...
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Construction Material Prices Largely a ‘Nonissue’ for Contractors

As 2019 comes to a close, contractors are enjoying the ongoing decline in construction input prices, which decreased half of a percent in November. According to Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) and their chief economist, Anirban Basu, material prices are "a nonissue" for contractors, despite trade disputes and tariffs.ABC reported not only...
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Construction Industry Maintains Job Count in November

The cold weather isn't putting the construction industry down as job opportunities remain available, increasing both month-over-month (MoM) and year-over-year (YOY). On Dec. 6, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) revealed an additional 1,000 net new construction jobs became available MoM in November, while the YOY total rose by 2%, or 146,000...
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Experts Anticipate $7.5 Billion Increase in Cyber Insurance Premiums by 2022

With each passing day, it seems as if there is a new type of insurance policy created to protect people and businesses alike. Many credit managers, for example, are already familiar with credit insurance, designed to ensure creditors are covered if a customer doesn't fulfill their debt. Published on Nov. 19, a Financial Times (FT) article explores ...
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October Brings Spike in Construction Jobs

For those interested in the construction industry, now is the time to join as the sector experienced a significant increase of 10,000 jobs in October across the U.S. Thirty-nine states saw some form of growth last month, 28 of which increased more than 2.1%.According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), nearly 150,000 residential an...
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‘New Month, Same Story’ on October Construction Material Prices

Construction input prices reached a plateau in October, showing a continued trend of little fluctuation over the past few months. The long-run data was less flattering, however, as prices decreased more than 2% year-over-year (YOY). With the main focus on nonresidential construction, input prices decreased monthly and annually by 0.1% and 2%, respe...
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AI Breaking Through to Construction Industry

Although news outlets have cited the construction industry's slow adoption of technology, recent reports show contractors are opening up to the idea, specifically the use of artificial intelligence (AI). According to Construction Dive, two AI companies have received funding for their platforms, both of which were designed to improve project efficie...
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