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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Contractors Show Confidence After Second Quarter’s Upswing

Contractors are looking into the past to prepare for the future and, according to the latest Commercial Construction Index (CCI), the future is positive. USG Corp. and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently released the second-quarter CCI, where contractors responded with more optimism than the previous quarter. On June 19, Construction Dive reporte...
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Small Businesses Feeling Positive About Months to Come

Heading into the summer months, small business owners are feeling hopeful about the business opportunities ahead, according to the latest findings from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). On June 11, FNIB announced that several components in the Small Business Optimism Index improved—the overall index increased 1.5 points for a ...
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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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