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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Construction Employment Thrives in January

Construction employment continued rising in the new year, adding 44,000 net new jobs in January. Based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industry grew nearly 2% year-over-year, exceeding 140,000 jobs.According to Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), nonresidential construction employment made up more than half of the gain ...
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ACH Growth Hits 12-Year High

ACH growth is at a 12-year high after huge improvements in 2019. The ACH Network saw nearly 25 billion payments last year, an almost 8% jump from 2018. The total value of the payments was nearly $56 trillion, which is an increase of nearly 9% from the previous year. Business-to-business (B2B) transactions also continued to climb in 2019. B2B paymen...
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Construction Spending Dips in December

Construction spending declined slightly to end 2019. According to the Census Bureau, December spending dipped 0.2% below the revised November estimate. However, construction spending in December was 5% above that of December 2018. "A solid gain in residential spending was not enough to offset a drop in nonresidential," states a release from Wells F...
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China Combats Coronavirus by ‘Supplying Cash to Money Markets’

Since the first reports of the outbreak in January, the coronavirus continues to take a toll on the Chinese economy and, in turn, the global economy. On Feb. 3, The New York Times (NYT) cited statistics from Oxford Economics, predicting China's economic growth to fall from last year's 6.1% to 5.6% in 2020. By all accounts, such a dramatic decline w...
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CMI Begins 2020 with a Bang

The Credit Managers' Index (CMI) is off to an overwhelming start to 2020. While other indices such as the purchasing managers' index are down to begin the new year, the CMI rebounded in January from a down December to reach a nearly three-year high. "Given that credit managers tend to think in the future, this month's good data may be seen as a har...
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Evolved Email Scam Threatens Companies’ Vendors

Attention all credit professionals! By now, the majority of you are at least familiar with the business email compromise (BEC) scam used by fraudsters to gain access to company information—usually finances—in the guise of an email from a fellow employee, e.g., manager, CEO, etc. However, scammers are no longer just after companies; they after compa...
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Low Mortgage Rates Help Struggling New Home Sales

Low mortgages rates are the only factor holding up the U.S. housing market after reports of declining new single-family home sales in December. On Jan. 27, Reuters reported details from the Commerce Department that showed new homes sales dropped nearly half a percent last month, continuing the consecutive decline that began in October.December's 0....
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Existing-Home Sales Skyrocket in December

Existing-home sales improved to a near two-year high in December. Sales jumped 3.6% from November, according to data released by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) earlier this week. Total sales, which include single-family homes, townhomes, condos and co-ops, increased 3.6% to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.54 million. Sales are up nearly...
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