Inflation Remains Low, US Economy Still Strong

The Chicago Federal Reserve released its analysis of the U.S. economy Dec. 18, noting favorable outcomes but stating inflation rates remain "worrisomely low," according to an article in Reuters. The labor market and the consumers conversely are "remarkably well" in contrast to inflation.Monetary policy, similarly, is in a "good place," which likely...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for December 16, 2019

By Chris Kuehl, Ph.D., NACM Economist—Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy—Too Much Collateral—Too Little Cash— The repo market is largely unfamiliar with the general public, but it is certainly important to the banking system. This is the system banks use to do short-term loans. The banks borrow money overnight to handle the day's obligations and ...
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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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Holiday Spending Still with Much to Prove

With the holiday season upon us, spending is ramping up; however, retail spending did not hit predicted marks. According to the Census Bureau, retail and food services sales increased 0.2% in November and are 3.3% ahead of November 2018. Economists expected retail sales to increase by 0.5% in November, according to Reuters. Despite this, NACM Econo...
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Fed Keeps Interest Rates Steady

Interest rates will continue to remain steady, according to the U.S. Federal Reserve. Borrowing costs will likely stay unchanged for an indefinite period of time. While 2020 brings a new presidential election, the Fed predicts the new year will see moderate economic growth and low unemployment.The lending rate sits between 1.5% and 1.75%, some of t...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for December 11, 2019

By Chris Kuehl, Ph.D., NACM EconomistShort Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyTax Policy Arguments ContinueDespite almost a year of negotiating, there is no end in sight as regards the development of tax breaks. The sense now is that a deal will have to wait until after the first of the year, as there has been no progress on the issue in the Senate. Sev...
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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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Dodge Momentum Index Increases in November

Construction spending could be in the forecast as the calendar turns to 2020. According to Dodge Data & Analytics, the Dodge Momentum Index increased nearly 3% in November, almost setting a new cycle high. The index reached 155.3 following October's 150.9 reading. The index measures initial reporting of nonresidential construction, which has le...
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An Unexpected Economic Drop off in November

The service sector in the U.S. saw a slowdown in November, an unexpected turn—especially given the usual health of holiday shopping, according to a recent article in Reuters. Most of the slowdown came from concerns related to trade tensions and worker shortage.This off-kilter behavior appeared in The Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) index, w...
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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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Pending Home Sales Drop in October

Pending home sales fell during the month of October, according to the National Association of Realtors. The overall index for pending home sales dipped by nearly 2%. Contracts to purchase previously owned homes in the U.S. also fell in October.The pending index provides a forward look into the health of real estate and construction of new residenti...
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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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Existing-Home Sales Increase in October

Existing-home sales are on the rise in much of the U.S., according to the latest data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Completed transactions of single-family homes, townhomes, condos and co-ops inched upward 1.9% in October, states NAR. Sales are also up 4.6% from October 2018. Economists predicted sales would rise 1.4% in October,...
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Construction Backlog Indicator Fell in September

The Associated Builders and Contractors' Construction Backlog Indicator (CBI) for September 2019 saw a setback. The indicator fell by one-tenth of a month or by 0.8% since August 2019. The CBI now sits at 8.9 months.ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu said the trends in the most recent CBI will "remain in place." The spending in the public constructio...
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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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Global Growth to Slow in 2020–21

Global growth is expected to remain at a slow pace during the next two years. However, Moody's Investors Services predicts the global economy will not see a recession during that time (2020–21). Yet, the economy would be "more vulnerable to negative developments" during this time of lower growth and inflation, states Moody's Global Macro Outlook re...
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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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Dodge Momentum Index Shows Promise

U.S. construction spending is predicted to be on the rise, according to one leading indicator. The Dodge Momentum Index from Dodge Data & Analytics showed the October reading up nearly 7% from the revised September index. The index measures the initial report of nonresidential building projects, which has led to show construction spending by a ...
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Public Construction 'One of the Strongest Elements of the US Economy,' ABC Says

Despite a dip in year-over-year (YOY) September nonresidential construction spending, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) economists said public construction remains strong, particularly in water supply, sewage and waste disposal. Contractors might have expressed concerns over the nearly 1% decline in YOY spending; however, nonresidential spe...
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Sales in US-Made Manufacturing Fall

U.S.-made goods dipped in sales during the month of September, according to a recent article by Reuters. General manufacturing spending also saw a decrease in September. Factory goods orders fell by 0.6% and orders fell 0.3% year-over-year, according to the Commerce Department. Shipments of manufactured goods fell by 0.2% as well.According to Reute...
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