September U.S. Housing Starts Take Step Back

U.S. housing starts did not turn out as expected in September, according to the latest release from the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development. Privately-owned housing starts staggered slightly from August to a seasonally adjusted rate of 1.201 million in September. Economists surveyed by Reuters expected starts to decline, h...
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Despite Billions of Dollars in Debt, Toys 'R' Us Lenders Seek to Reboot the Brand

After filing for bankruptcy in June, Toys 'R' Us announced its doors may be reopening—still without promise to pay its former employees and the small promise of paying a mere 22 cents on the dollar it owed creditors after the company filed for bankruptcy. Lenders plan to sell the intellectual property of Toys 'R' Us instead of continuing with a ban...
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Dodge Momentum Index Takes Step Back

Construction spending in the nonresidential sector is taking a hit, according to a leading economic indicator. The Dodge Momentum Index, which has been shown to lead nonresidential building construction spending by one year, is in a bit of a slump following September's 2.6% downturn from August. The index also declined in August after a string of s...
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International Monetary Fund, World Bank Bring Global Financial System Risks to Light

  The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank are gathering this week to discuss the state of the global financial system, which has many worried because of emerging markets and heightened trade tensions. The meetings are held in Bali and include a review of current risks to the world's financial well-being. On Oct. 10, Reuters re...
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September’s Strong Service Sector Hits 21-Year High

September was good to the U.S. service sector, where activity reached a two-decade high as the economy begins the fourth quarter. The Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) non-manufacturing activity index indicated more hiring was behind last month's results that were last seen in August 1997. Following Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's re...
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Trade Credit Insurance Payout Hits Quarterly High

Trade credit insurance payout is at an all-time high. According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), the second quarter payout of one million pounds daily ($1.3 million) to help cover bad debts is a quarterly record. A total of 92 million pounds was paid to U.K. firms to combat bad debt, also a quarterly record, surpassing the previous mar...
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Retailers Struggling to Hire for the Holidays

The holiday shopping season is approaching quickly as shoppers will soon begin flocking to department stores and small businesses in the coming months. A busy shopping season calls for more retail hiring; however, CNBC reports not all retailers will successfully fill their vacant positions. Demands for higher wages lure some employees away from low...
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‘To No One’s Surprise,’ Fed Hikes Interest Rates

As predicted, the Federal Reserve followed through with its plan to hike interest rates on Sept. 26, increasing rates by a quarter point, while anticipating economic growth for the remainder of 2018 and into next year. The hike was of no surprised to anyone, said NACM Economist Chris Kuehl, Ph.D., who said the latest hike marks the eighth increase ...
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Amendment to Pennsylvania Construction Act to Take Effect in October

Only a few weeks remain until Pennsylvania's Contractor and Subcontractor Payment Act (CASPA) changes, shaking up the future of timeliness for construction payments. The new act will affect construction contracts entered into, on or after Oct. 10, 2018. In Pennsylvania, CASPA affects downstream payments on private construction projects. The amendme...
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Food, Chemical Products Amid Latest Chinese Retaliatory Tariffs on US

Tackling trade talks remains difficult for the U.S. and China as more of President Donald Trump's tariffs go into effect today, placing a 10% tax on $200 billion of Chinese products such as furniture and appliances. According to CNBC, the tariff is expected to increase to 25% by the end of the year. This latest imposition was met with retaliation b...
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Consumer Demand, Not Trade War, Among CFOs Top Concerns

Risk assessment is part of the daily grind for any business, so when the U.S. stirred up trade controversies with other countries, economists saw American businesses' concerns rise. While many believed the trade war was among these worries, a new CNBC survey suggests there are worse fears in the business community, specifically consumer demand. On ...
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Little Economic Impact Expected From Hurricane Florence

Natural disasters take a physical toll on impacted communities, the most recent example being the severe flooding from Hurricane Florence in North Carolina. With destruction and devastation comes economic hardship, but according to Moody's Analytics, Hurricane Florence is expected to have a minimal impact on the U.S. economy. The latest hurricane h...
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Lumber Prices Rise as Hurricane Florence Nears East Coast

As the East Coast prepares for Hurricane Florence to make landfall late Thursday or early Friday, the construction industry is already seeing the storm's costly effects through lumber prices. According to Prosales magazine, the impending hurricane and any that follow are expected to bring a 10% lumber price hike that may last roughly two months. On...
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New Funding Option for UK SMEs

A new funding option is in the future for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the United Kingdom. New laws put forward by Small Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst this week will "make it easier for small businesses to access invoice financing," according to a release from the government. This will in turn provide a one-billion-pound boost t...
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Job Growth Dwindles Across Businesses of All Sizes

No matter the size of the business, job growth spiraled in August across the U.S., where hiring plummeted by roughly 54,000 jobs compared to the prior month. According to a Sept. 10 report by payroll service provider ADP, only 163,000 jobs were added in August, falling well below the 206,000 monthly average and the 217,000 added in July. Despite de...
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Residential Construction Jobs See Increase for August

Employment in the residential construction industry remains stable, sitting at 3.9% this August, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Jobs increased by 201,000, and employment in residential construction continued to trend upward. The number of unemployed persons decreased by a total of 46,000, yet the number of employed p...
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E-Invoicing Ushers Businesses Toward More Tech Implementation

Knowing when and where to start implementing new technology is tricky for any business. Costs and complications alone often steer businesses away from the latest advancements, but some experts believe electronic invoicing adoption is one of the best stepping stones for a gradual transition into 21st century technology. According to professional ser...
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End of Summer Brings CMI Out of Decline

NACM's Credit Managers' Index (CMI) turned a corner as the summer comes to a close, showing positive readings for the first time in two months. These higher readings show signs of stability for the near future, though the stability may not last with the threat of inflation and on-going trade wars. The combined CMI score for August went up by 0.3 po...
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Be Extra Cautious When Lending to Micro-SMBs

When credit managers are extending lines of credit, the size of their customers' business is a factor to weigh in the decision-making process. Just because a business is small doesn't mean it will never get credit, but both parties have to remain more alert. On Aug. 27, global fintech company Tide explained how micro-SMBs (small- to medium-sized bu...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for August 24, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Lining Up Behind the Chair For the most part, the Fed is a body that rules by consensus. The members of the Open Market Committee are the permanent members of the Board of Governors plus four of the regional heads of the Fed that rotate on and off the FOMC on an annual basis. The Chair represents the views of th...
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