WHATS IT COST
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WHATS IT COST

Data on prices has begun to show some consistent lift as the third quarter ended. Demand for construction nationally is pinching labor supply and is giving manufacturers the confidence to test the market with price increases. Consumer prices are nudging above the one percent level and wages are consistently up 2.5 percent or more year-over-year. Yet for all the talk of inflation beginning to trend towards “normal” levels, an examination of year-over-year changes in September shows that prices are more stable overall than in a number of years.

Since 2008, there have been two major swings in the price of oil and energy that have induced big deltas in the prices of oil-related or energy-intensive materials. October marked two full years since the collapse of the oil price and the impact is noticeable in the lack of a severe outlier among the basic materials and products. Even after an apparent agreement by OPEC producers is factored in, the price associate with oil should not swing the cost of construction materials dramatically.

Read full post  |  Posted by on 12.13.16


NATIONAL OUTLOOK

Economic data from August and September painted a picture of a U.S. economy that remains stuck in a slow-growth cycle, but which is strong relative to its primary global partners. Job creation remains solid given the duration of the business cycle; and related data on wage growth and household incomes suggest that U.S. consumers have less to be concerned about today than even two years ago. Activity by business continues to weaken – albeit slightly – as a strong U.S. dollar, political uncertainty and weak global demand are sources of worry.

Labor markets remain the best source of optimism about the economy. Employment grew by 156,000 jobs in September, according to the October 7 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. After revisions were made to July and August job creation estimates, the September data meant that the monthly job additions during the third quarter averaged 191,000 – higher than the average of 171,000 for the full year to date.

As important as the jobs gained were the increase in average workers wages, which were up 2.6 percent year-over-year. Labor force participation also improved, with 444,000 more people entering the workforce. The average hours worked also jumped during the quarter. The September report showed a continuation of the upward trend in professional services and healthcare jobs, a possible end to the extended job losses in energy and further declines in manufacturing employment.

Read full post  |  Posted by on 12.13.16


The New Overtime Rules

The New Overtime Rules issued by the Department of Labor regarding the overtime eligibility is still set to go into effect December 1, 2016.

The House introduced and passed legislation, H.R. 6094, which would delay the overtime rules for a six-month period, but it has yet to be heard by the Senate and likely will be delayed until after the election. Therefore, we recommend proceeding with your plan to address this change within your company.
 

Read full post  |  Posted by on 11.03.16


HOW BUILDERS VIEW LENDERS

A recent survey of builders, developers, remodelers, and subcontractors by TD Bank found that U.S. builders value their partnerships with loan officers and rely on them to help close sales.

Read full post  |  Posted by on 10.27.16


Home Building Has Room To Grow

NAHB economist Robert Dietz looks at the economic growth potential of residential construction.

The economy got off to a soft start in 2016. Growth rates for the first quarter (0.8%) and the second quarter (1.2%) were disappointing, and NAHB has marked down its forecast for overall growth in 2016 to 1.6%. This would make 2016 the weakest year since 2011. Economic activity associated with investment has been weak for the past three quarters, due to energy sector declines and reduced business investment.

Read full post  |  Posted by on 10.27.16


Breakeven analysis helps with business choices

Breakeven analysis is an important and useful tool in business. Whether you're starting a new business, expanding current operations, contemplating an acquisition, downsizing, or approaching banks and other potential lenders, you'll want to know your breakeven. 

Read full post  |  Posted by on 10.27.16


OSHA: tips to make your OSHA exam potentially less painful

Construction companies and medical patients have something in common. A doctor entered an exam room to discuss with a patient the results of tests on his kidneys. “Your kidneys are fine,” he said. “However, if we run enough tests we’re going to find something, somewhere, and we may have found a different problem.”  That test turned out negative as well, but the process is descriptive of what construction companies deal with when engaged with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

OSHA has one job, per its website description, which is to “assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.”

Read full post  |  Posted by on 10.27.16


ZILLOW: MILLENNIALS BEGIN TO DRIVE HOUSING MARKET…

Largest study of its kind reports that the young are approaching home ownership with both savviness and caution.

Read full post  |  Posted by on 10.20.16


THREE STEPS TO STREAMLINING ENVIRONMENTAL PERMITS

Permitting mistakes raise costs and cause delays and new legal uncertainties could add to that risk.

By Brian Farrar, Gen. (ret) Bruce Berwick

--Remember that preparation involves tomorrow as much as today. More than a few home builders have been frustrated when their applications were delayed due to circumstances occurring after the applications were submitted. Provisions in the Endangered Species Act offer a good example of how this can happen. Every application to the Corps must address a project’s impact on endangered or threatened species.

Read full post  |  Posted by on 10.20.16


How Employee Expenses Are Deducted

Questions on how to claim deductions for expenses you incur in connection with your employment? The expense include those for local transportation (other than commuting), business meals and entertainment (at 50% of cost), travel away from home, supplies, educations, etc.

Read full post  |  Posted by on 10.20.16


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