Super Typhoon Yutu and Recovery Efforts in US Territories

One of the strongest storms to hit the U.S. since 1935 struck western U.S. territories Oct. 25, leaving more than 100 injured and one dead, according to KUAM News. Relief efforts continue, now with help from federal funds as a Major Disaster Declaration for Super Typhoon Yutu was confirmed Oct. 27. With such devastating damage, rebuilding efforts w...
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Somber Credit Managers’ Index Starts 4Q

After a string of solid results in NACM's Credit Managers' Index (CMI) starting this past spring, the predictive index is at its worst output since April. The October CMI reading dropped nearly two points to 54.5 from 56.4 in September. "This is not an emergency situation to be sure as these numbers are still solidly in the mid-50s, but it isn't th...
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Moody’s: US Oil Sector Debt Levels ‘Unsustainable’

The current debt levels of U.S. oilfield and drilling (OFS) companies is unsustainable over the long term. According to Moody's Investors Service, OFS companies need a "substantial improvement in cash flow." "U.S. oilfield services and drilling companies' high debt levels will continue to constrain their credit quality in 2019 and beyond," said Sre...
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Large Firms in UK Still Pay Late Despite Legislation

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in the U.K. announced this week that larger firms that do not pay their suppliers on time should be stripped of government contracts. Late payments have caused nearly 50,000 companies annually to shut down, according to The Guardian. The firms owe tens of billions of pounds, and the closures of these compani...
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Metals Market Reacts to Death of Saudi Journalist, China’s Economic Dip

The global equity market is reacting to geopolitical tensions as the price of copper fell amid the death of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the slowing demand of copper in China, according to a recent article by Reuters . Benchmark copper fell a total of 0.7%, now costing a total of $6,196 per ton. Today, Turkey's president stated the ...
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Sears Seeking Financial Help, Vendors Reacting

Sears Holdings Corp. Chairman Eddie Lampert is in the process of finding a financing partner for the company's bankruptcy filing. According to Reuters, Lampert's private equity firm, ESL Investments, has talked with investment firm, Cyrus Capital Partners LP, about sharing the financial burden of a $300 million loan. Meanwhile, some of Sears' vendo...
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Existing-Home Sales and Housing Starts Fall in September, Decreasing Consistently

Sales continue to fall for previously owned homes in the U.S., and September showed the sixth-straight monthly drop in sales, according to Bloomberg. Sales of these homes have fallen to the lowest level since 2015, and this consistent drop is the longest since 2014. Despite a lack of desire for purchasing older homes, U.S. housing starts also fell ...
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September U.S. Housing Starts Take Step Back

U.S. housing starts did not turn out as expected in September, according to the latest release from the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development. Privately-owned housing starts staggered slightly from August to a seasonally adjusted rate of 1.201 million in September. Economists surveyed by Reuters expected starts to decline, h...
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Despite Billions of Dollars in Debt, Toys 'R' Us Lenders Seek to Reboot the Brand

After filing for bankruptcy in June, Toys 'R' Us announced its doors may be reopening—still without promise to pay its former employees and the small promise of paying a mere 22 cents on the dollar it owed creditors after the company filed for bankruptcy. Lenders plan to sell the intellectual property of Toys 'R' Us instead of continuing with a ban...
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Dodge Momentum Index Takes Step Back

Construction spending in the nonresidential sector is taking a hit, according to a leading economic indicator. The Dodge Momentum Index, which has been shown to lead nonresidential building construction spending by one year, is in a bit of a slump following September's 2.6% downturn from August. The index also declined in August after a string of s...
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International Monetary Fund, World Bank Bring Global Financial System Risks to Light

  The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank are gathering this week to discuss the state of the global financial system, which has many worried because of emerging markets and heightened trade tensions. The meetings are held in Bali and include a review of current risks to the world's financial well-being. On Oct. 10, Reuters re...
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September’s Strong Service Sector Hits 21-Year High

September was good to the U.S. service sector, where activity reached a two-decade high as the economy begins the fourth quarter. The Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) non-manufacturing activity index indicated more hiring was behind last month's results that were last seen in August 1997. Following Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's re...
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Trade Credit Insurance Payout Hits Quarterly High

Trade credit insurance payout is at an all-time high. According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), the second quarter payout of one million pounds daily ($1.3 million) to help cover bad debts is a quarterly record. A total of 92 million pounds was paid to U.K. firms to combat bad debt, also a quarterly record, surpassing the previous mar...
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Retailers Struggling to Hire for the Holidays

The holiday shopping season is approaching quickly as shoppers will soon begin flocking to department stores and small businesses in the coming months. A busy shopping season calls for more retail hiring; however, CNBC reports not all retailers will successfully fill their vacant positions. Demands for higher wages lure some employees away from low...
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‘To No One’s Surprise,’ Fed Hikes Interest Rates

As predicted, the Federal Reserve followed through with its plan to hike interest rates on Sept. 26, increasing rates by a quarter point, while anticipating economic growth for the remainder of 2018 and into next year. The hike was of no surprised to anyone, said NACM Economist Chris Kuehl, Ph.D., who said the latest hike marks the eighth increase ...
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Amendment to Pennsylvania Construction Act to Take Effect in October

Only a few weeks remain until Pennsylvania's Contractor and Subcontractor Payment Act (CASPA) changes, shaking up the future of timeliness for construction payments. The new act will affect construction contracts entered into, on or after Oct. 10, 2018. In Pennsylvania, CASPA affects downstream payments on private construction projects. The amendme...
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Food, Chemical Products Amid Latest Chinese Retaliatory Tariffs on US

Tackling trade talks remains difficult for the U.S. and China as more of President Donald Trump's tariffs go into effect today, placing a 10% tax on $200 billion of Chinese products such as furniture and appliances. According to CNBC, the tariff is expected to increase to 25% by the end of the year. This latest imposition was met with retaliation b...
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Consumer Demand, Not Trade War, Among CFOs Top Concerns

Risk assessment is part of the daily grind for any business, so when the U.S. stirred up trade controversies with other countries, economists saw American businesses' concerns rise. While many believed the trade war was among these worries, a new CNBC survey suggests there are worse fears in the business community, specifically consumer demand. On ...
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Little Economic Impact Expected From Hurricane Florence

Natural disasters take a physical toll on impacted communities, the most recent example being the severe flooding from Hurricane Florence in North Carolina. With destruction and devastation comes economic hardship, but according to Moody's Analytics, Hurricane Florence is expected to have a minimal impact on the U.S. economy. The latest hurricane h...
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Lumber Prices Rise as Hurricane Florence Nears East Coast

As the East Coast prepares for Hurricane Florence to make landfall late Thursday or early Friday, the construction industry is already seeing the storm's costly effects through lumber prices. According to Prosales magazine, the impending hurricane and any that follow are expected to bring a 10% lumber price hike that may last roughly two months. On...
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