Mall, Shopping Center Vacancies Pave Rocky Path for Retail Sector

Despite the holiday season, December was not welcoming to the retail sector as overall service sector sales plummeted to the lowest mark of the year, according to NACM Economist Chris Kuehl's findings in last month's Credit Managers' Index (CMI). An underlying trend remains unknown, but a recent CNBC report indicates the latest retail pitfalls coul...
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Latest Home Data Shows Spike in Costs, Dip in Pending Sales

U.S. home prices are on the rise according to two separate data releases announced this week. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index reports home price increases in all nine census divisions—a year-over-year jump of 5.5% in October. Meanwhile, the Federal Housing Finance Agency announced prices rose 0.3% in October co...
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Credit Managers’ Index Ends 2018 on Sour Note

NACM's Credit Managers' Index, hoping to build momentum from November, closed out 2018 with a slight flop. The December reading slipped 1.6 points back toward its October reading. "On one level, this is disappointing. It would have been nice to see the index continue tracking upwards, but it is important to remember that any reading over 50 suggest...
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Multifamily Housing Starts Create Upswing for Overall US Development

Following October's unanticipated decline in U.S. housing starts, homebuilding saw an upswing in November thanks to substantial gains in multifamily housing construction. Single-family housing starts, however, restrained any further growth, reaching its lowest reading since August 2017. On Dec. 18, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) r...
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Australian Government to Set Aside Millions for Cybersecurity, Faster Payment Times

Although the implementation of enhanced cybersecurity and faster supplier payment solutions come at a hefty cost to small businesses, the Australian government is not shying away from technological advancements after announcing its plans to invest nearly $13 million during its mid-year financial outlook and budget. The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) r...
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Builder Confidence Slips to End 2018

Builder confidence for newly built single-family homes is at its lowest level in more than three years. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) dipped four points to 56 in December, the lowest reading since May 2015; however, confidence is still in positive territory. One of the contributing factors to the D...
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Holiday Spending Up, Despite Lowered Economic Optimism

Holiday spending this shopping season is exceeding expectations, so much so that Americans are spending well above last year's average. CNBC's All-America Economic Survey, conducted on a quarterly basis, saw a spending surge in the final quarter of 2018 to an average of more than $1,100 compared to last year's average of just over $900. According t...
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Construction Materials Prices Decline in November

Construction materials prices are on the decline; however, prices are still higher than they were a year ago. Prices fell 1.8% in November according to Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), yet materials prices were more than 5% higher than the previous November. "Earlier in 2018, materials prices were racing skyward due to a combination of st...
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US Announces Deadline on Chinese Trade Talks

A trade truce is underway between the U.S. and China, but it is only temporary as the U.S. administration announces a March deadline that will determine the implementation of tariffs. According to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, the two countries must reach a deal by Mar. 1; otherwise, the 10% tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods w...
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Real-Time Payments for Debit Card Transactions May Be on the Way

When customers pay by debit card, it can take one to three days before the payment is processed and cleared. With 36% of Americans planning to use debit cards for the holiday season, according to a TD Bank report, businesses must still wait for the payment to be settled by interbank transfer before they see the money. According to The Wall Street J...
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October New Home Sales Pace Hits Two-Year Low

With housing affordability squandering buyer interest, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau saw new single-family home sales take a seasonal dive in October. Sales were up nearly 3% from December 2017; however, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported the seasonally adjusted annual rate dr...
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Elevator Speeches Contest Deadline EXTENDED

NACM has extended the deadline for the Elevator Speeches contest to 5pm EST Dec. 7, 2018. So if you missed out on earning .1 road map point toward your designation plus a chance to win a free registration to NACM's Credit Congress & Expo in Aurora, Colorado, on May 19-22, 2019, fret not—you still have until Dec. 7. To enter, submit your best el...
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An Agreement Reached on US and China Auto Tariffs?

After teasing automakers throughout last week and over the weekend, the U.S. and China may have reached an agreement on auto tariffs. As of Nov. 29, Supply Chain Dive reported the U.S. and China will look to equalize tariffs. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer called Chinese tariffs "egregious," citing the 40% tariff on U.S. imports and th...
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US Construction Unemployment Rates Historically Low in 22 States for October

Warmer temperatures in the east and hurricane recovery efforts are sustaining employment rates in the construction industry, where Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) said unemployment rates dropped across 45 states year-over-year (YOY). According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the not-seasonally adjusted (NSA) national construction...
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Big Production, Workforce Changes Coming to General Motors

Investors in the automotive industry will want to pay attention to the latest move by General Motors Co. after the U.S. No. 1 carmaker announced Nov. 26 its plans to transition from the traditional gas-powered vehicles to electric and autonomous vehicles. The decision will have a direct impact on the company's workforce in North America. According ...
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US Building Materials Outlook Lowered

The outlook for the U.S. building materials sector has been lowered due to a decreased demand in private construction. Moody's Investors Service downgraded its outlook from positive to stable following four years of strong growth. "We expect lower organic operating income growth in the building materials sector over the next 18 months, as growth in...
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Earn Roadmap Points and a Chance for Free Registration to Credit Congress: Elevator Speeches Contest

Only 11 days remain to submit your elevator speech for NACM's annual Elevator Speeches contest. The best speech—selected by NACM's editorial staff—will receive a free registration to NACM's Credit Congress & Expo in Aurora, Colorado, on May 19-22, 2019. Each participant also receives .1 roadmap point toward an NACM designation, regardless of wh...
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US Bankruptcy Court Approves Sears’ Decision to ‘Stay in Business, Sell Itself’

Unlike the Chapter 11 bankruptcy whirlwind that struck Toys R Us more than a year ago, Sears is finding success in its Ch. 11 filing after the U.S. Bankruptcy Court approved the department store's plan to "stay in business and sell itself." The announcement was made about a month after Sears filed for Ch. 11 to the dismay of some credit managing bu...
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California Wildfire Recovery, Unlicensed Contractors

Future residential projects in California will likely take place farther outside of wooded areas, and more will be completed by licensed, contract workers. The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) reached out to thousands of residents affected by the California campfires and wildfires urging them to only work with licensed contractors to ensure p...
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Rising Interest Rates, Home Prices Bring Housing Affordability to 10-Year Low

Housing affordability in the U.S. continues to turn heads as the latest National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) revealed a decade-long low in the third quarter of 2018. Economists say rising interest rates and home prices as well as the ongoing labor shortages are to blame. "Builders are increasingly...
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