Last updateThu, 20 Sep 2018 3pm


Construction Firms Report Difficulty Filling Craft Positions

According to the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), 80% of construction firms report they are having a hard time filling hourly craft positions that represent the bulk of the construction workforce. AGC officials said shortages pose a significant risk to future economic growth and they released a new workforce development plan to solve the growing problem. Craft worker shortages are severe in all four regions of the country. The labor shortages come as demand for construction continues to grow. 

Consumer Confidence Rose in August

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index increased in August, following a modest increase in July. The index now stands at 133.4, up from 127.9 in July. The present situation index improved from 166.1 to 172.2, while the expectations index increased from 102.4 last month to 107.6 this month.

“Consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions improved further. Expectations, which had declined in June and July, bounced back in August and continue to suggest solid economic growth for the remainder of 2018. Overall, these historically high confidence levels should continue to support healthy consumer spending in the near-term,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. 

U.S. Durable Goods Orders Fell 1.7% in July

New orders for manufactured durable goods in July decreased $4.3 billion or 1.7% to $246.9 billion, the U.S. Commerce Department announced. This decrease, down three of the last four months, followed a 0.7% June increase. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.2%. Excluding defense, new orders decreased 1.0%. Transportation equipment, also down three of the last four months, drove the decrease, $4.6 billion or 5.3% to $82.8 billion. 

U.S. Trade Policy Endangers Texas Economic Growth

Dallas Fed economists are optimistic about the prospects for Texas’ growth in the short and medium term. However, worker shortages as well as U.S. trade policy, particularly regarding NAFTA, are issues that could negatively impact the outlook. Research by Dallas Fed economists indicates that the U.S. trading relationship with Mexico is substantially an “intermediate goods” relationship—part of integrated supply chain and logistics relationships that allow U.S.-domiciled companies to keep jobs in this country and increase their global competitiveness. Without these trading relationships, the U.S. would likely lose market share to other countries, particularly in Asia. 

BCG: Rebuild a Company While Business is Booming

Even as large-scale efforts to dramatically change business operations increasingly become the norm, too many companies still view transformation as something to be done when a business is already in financial trouble. Turning this old view on its head, new research from The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) shows that leaders stand to gain more by rebuilding business operations while their companies are doing well.

The return on investment (ROI) of preemptive transformations is estimated to be 50% higher, on average, in terms of restructuring costs, than the ROI from transformations implemented in response to declining business performance. 

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