Import Prices Rebound After Historic Fall

A month after their worst fall in more than five years, import prices have rebounded to their best month in over a year. U.S. imports increased 1% in May, according to a release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Much of the increase is due to the large jump in fuel import prices, which shot up 20.5% in May. That was the largest increase since th...
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Construction Sees Largest Monthly Job Increase in More Than 80 Years

The construction industry featured its latest accomplishment in May, adding 464,000 net new jobs—the largest monthly increase in more than 80 years, according to Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). Although there were fewer jobs in May compared to the prior year, nonresidential construction employment added 237,000 net new jobs last month af...
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April Construction Spending Slips; Better than Expected

Construction spending is still being impacted by COVID-19; however, outlays fell slightly lower than expected in April. Despite the better-than-expected fall, April's 2.9% drop was the worst since October 2018, according to Reuters. However, spending in April was 3% higher than April 2019, according to a release from the Census Bureau. Construction...
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Google Warns of Ongoing Online Scams

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, so do online scams. Last week, Google warned the public of the ongoing battle against phishing attacks, some often involving fraudsters stealing confidential data as well as tricking those into believing they will receive financial relief.According to Google security experts, cybercriminals have been quite act...
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Pending Home Sales Plummet in April

Pending home sales is the latest sector to see record drops from the impacts of COVID-19. The Pending Home Sales Index from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) declined 21.8% in April. All regions saw a month-to-month and year-over-year decline in pending home sales. "With nearly all states under stay-at-home orders in April, it is no surpri...
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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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Existing Home Sales Continue Decline in April

COVID-19 continues to impact existing home sales, resulting in the second-straight month of declines. The National Association of Realtors announced May 21 that sales dropped 17.8% in April from March, and sales are down roughly the same amount from April 2019. The steep fall is the largest month-over-month decline since July 2010. "The economic lo...
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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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Retail Sales Tumble in April

Retail sales in the U.S. have tumbled across the board due to the impacts of COVID-19. The Census Bureau announced May 15 that retail and food services sales declined 16.4% in April from March, and sales are down 21.6% from April 2019. Economists predicted sales to drop more than 12%, states CNBC. Much of the despair was in clothing and clothing ac...
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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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COVID-19 Affects Nonresidential Building

COVID-19 continues to impact industries left and right and is now hitting the nonresidential building sector. The Dodge Momentum Index declined 6% in April, according to a release from Dodge Data & Analytics. The index measures the initial report of nonresidential projects in planning. Despite the significant drop, the full impact of COVID-19 h...
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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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NACM's April CMI Sinks Deeper into Contraction

To say the Credit Managers' Index (CMI) from NACM is "down in the dumps" is an understatement, yet there are still a few positives in April's CMI. While not bottoming out at the record low seen during the Great Recession, the current combined score of 40.6 is uncomfortably low. January 2009 is the CMI's all-time low with a score of 39.7. "There has...
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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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New Home Sales Plummet in March

New single-family home sales have finally felt the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. Sales plummeted 15.4% in March from the revised February rate, according to the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development. Sales are also 9.5% below March 2019. "Despite the sharp decline in new home sales this month, the first quarter of 2020...
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Existing-Home Sales Decline Due to COVID-19

The coronavirus has made its mark on the world economy; now it has hit U.S. existing-home sales. Sales declined 8.5% in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.27 million, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). However, year-over-year sales are up 0.8% since March 2019. This is the ninth straight month of YOY sales increas...
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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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March Housing Starts Impacted by Coronavirus

U.S. housing starts have been greatly impacted by the outbreak of the coronavirus. Privately owned housing starts fell more than 22% in March to a seasonally adjusted rate of 1.216 million, according to the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development. The staggering drop was the largest monthly step-back since March 1984, states R...
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Department Stores at Risk to Default Amid Pandemic

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many credit managers fear their customers may default or file for bankruptcy. According to a recent article in RetailDive, department stores are the most at-risk for defaulting on debt within a year. Department stores are the highest at-risk among consumer companies, with a 42.1% median probability of defaulting on debt....
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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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