March CMI Plummets as Outbreak Continues

Not much good will come by looking at the raw numbers of the March Credit Managers' Index from NACM, yet it's not all bad. Despite a massive 7.2-point combined decline in March, mostly due to only a couple factors, there are several places to find some hidden gold. The coronavirus has hampered the global economy for weeks, but it is only now actual...
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Senate to Vote on COVID-19 Relief Bill, Allocating Money to Businesses

Senators will vote again March 25 on whether to pass the $2 trillion bipartisan package to help stimulate the U.S. economy. While the Senate will vote on this bill, the House of Representatives likely will not act on it until March 26, according to a recent article in Reuters. While the full package has not been announced to the public, most of the...
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New Home Sales Dip; Still Strong

New single-family home sales are on the decline; however, new data from the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development does not include the recent impacts of the coronavirus. The joint announcement states February's seasonally adjusted rate is 765,000, down 4.4% from January, but 14.3% ahead of February 2019. Economists predicted...
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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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Existing-Home Sales Hit 13-Year High

Existing-home sales in the U.S. jumped to a 13-year high in February; however, the gains should be taken with a grain of salt as the data was collected before the coronavirus became so widespread. Sales of single-family homes, townhouses, condos and co-ops increased 6.5% from January, according to the National Association of Realtors. February was ...
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US Nears Recession in Wake of Coronavirus Pandemic

The chance the U.S. will be in a recession this year has now reached 80%, according to analysts for Reuters. The impact of the coronavirus has nearly pushed the U.S. completely out of its longest expansion period on record. Businesses have shut down across the world and lockdowns have been issued in major cities worldwide, handicapping the economy....
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Insolvencies to Increase in 2020

Insolvencies across the globe will increase in 2020, mainly as a result of the coronavirus epidemic. According to credit insurer Atradius, corporate insolvencies in advanced economies are expected to increase 2.4% this year, up 1% from 2019. Business failures in the U.S. will level off at 2% in 2020, down from 2.5% the previous year. "The outbreak ...
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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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ISM: COVID-19 Disrupting Supply Chains

The coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to wreak havoc on businesses. In the first round of survey results from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM), released earlier this week, roughly three-fourths of companies said they have experienced disrupted supply chains due to COVID-19 from transportation restrictions. "The story the data tells is that ...
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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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Japan's Economy Begins to Slip Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

The Japanese economy may be the next victim of the coronavirus as tourism has fallen significantly since the outbreak. The Bank of Japan (BOJ) has been facing the pressure of a possible recession, according to a recent article in Reuters, and Japan said it will be willing to take "appropriate action" for economic recovery.The threat of recession ha...
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Record Construction Spending Starts 2020

Construction spending in the U.S. hit a record high to start 2020. Total construction spending improved 1.8% in January from the revised December data, according to a Census Bureau release earlier this week. The increase is the most in roughly two years, and the $1.369 trillion is a record high. Spending is also 6.8% higher in January than it was i...
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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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Construction Confidence into 2020 Looks Optimistic

Confidence among construction contractors did not waiver during the end of 2019 and into the beginning of 2020, according to recent index results released by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). The index spiked in November then remained steady in December.Several variables remained above the growth expectations threshold in December 2019: sa...
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Trade Negotiations Between US and India Reach First Steps

Following a two-day meeting in India, the U.S. and India concluded ongoing trade talks, which may begin a bilateral U.S.-India trade deal, according to a recent article in Reuters. The White House has not given any details on what the trade agreement may look like.Prior to meeting Feb. 24-25, the two nations negotiated for months on terms related t...
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Coronavirus Begins to Impact Italy

The coronavirus has begun to impact parts of Europe, predominately in Italy. The sixth person infected with the virus has died as of Feb. 24, as the virus begins to infect the economy of European nations. According to a recent article in Reuters, Italian shares fell by 5% out of fear for the future.Since Feb. 21, more than 220 people in Italy have ...
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Coronavirus May Damage Chinese Economy, US Agreements

Despite the continued outbreak of China's coronavirus, the U.S. government still expects China to buy more U.S. goods, as per the trade deal signed in January, according to a recent article in Reuters. The disease will likely cause further damage to the Chinese economy, although the U.S. Treasury said it is still too soon to determine how exactly t...
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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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Retail Sales Improve Slightly in January

Retail and food service sales saw a slight increase in January. The Census Bureau announced Feb. 14, 2020, that sales were up 0.3% from December 2019 and 4.4% from January 2019. Sales between November 2019 and January 2020 were also ahead 4.4% from the same period the previous year. However, retail sales alone were only improved by 0.1% from Decemb...
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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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