New Home Sales Rise Slightly Showing 'Potential Recovery'

Although existing home sales declined last month, new home sales held their ground in April with more than a half-percent rise. National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported the increase brought the seasonally adjusted annual rate to 623,000 units.NAHB Chairman Dean Mon said in the report that the new home sales results "show the potential ...
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Decrease in April Construction Input Prices Spells Good News for Industry

A bit of good news made its way to the construction sector last week when Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) reported a dip in construction input prices in April. Overall prices declined nearly 4.5% last month, the majority of the decline seen in nonresidential construction input prices at 4.2%. ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu said inflatio...
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Construction Unemployment Rises Nearly 15% in April

Unemployment has reached record highs since the outbreak of COVID-19 and the construction industry is feeling it. According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the unemployment rate continued to rise in April with an increase of nearly 15%—a total of 20.5 million jobs lost in 30 days.NAHB reported residential construction employmen...
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Nonresidential Construction Spending in March Gives 'False Sense' of What's Ahead

As the U.S. experiences this drastic economic downturn from COVID-19, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) revealed only a slight dip in nonresidential construction spending in March for a total of nearly $803 billion. Despite falling 0.1% in March, nonresidential construction spending increased 2% over the prior yearAccording to ABC, 12 of th...
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Few Contractors Are Confident About the Future Thanks to COVID-19

Contractors are not anticipating a bright foreseeable future, at least for the time being, thanks to COVID-19. According to a recent report from Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), its Construction Confidence Index (CCI), reached an all-time low in readings for sales, profit margins and staffing levels, with all three scores plummeting below...
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SMBs Wait for What's Next After PPP Funds Run Out

Two weeks after its launch, the Payment Protection Program's (PPP) $349 billion in small business loans has run out, leaving hundreds of thousands of small businesses that didn't receive funding scrambling for assistance. Additional bailout money is under discussion in Congress, yet president and CEO of Atlanta's Federal Reserve Bank Raphael Bostic...
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Construction Industry Turns to Layoffs, Furloughs Amidst COVID-19

April is often the time of year when construction begins ramping up, bringing in plenty of business after the winter months. However, COVID-19 is throwing a wrench into the situation as many construction companies are now laying off or furloughing their employees. According to a survey of nearly 1,300 respondents from Associated General Contractors...
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COVID-19 Ravages March Construction Employment

COVID-19 has ravaged employment nationwide and if further proof was necessary, the construction industry declined by 29,000 jobs in March. A recent report from Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) revealed the dramatic drop, which included the loss of 24,600 nonresidential construction jobs.With a March unemployment rate of nearly 7%, the cons...
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CARES Act Helps Construction Industry

Industries nationwide are struggling to navigate the coronavirus outbreak and how it will potentially impact future business. On March 27, U.S. President Donald Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act into law in an effort to help citizens personally and professionally, including the construction industry.Under th...
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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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