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NSSGA Continues Virtual Leadership Summit

RR061620 VotersJuly 16, 2020 – The National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA), as part of its virtual Executive Committee & Leadership Summit, hosted Rich Thau from the firm Engagious talking about swing voters. The event was sponsored by Caterpillar. Thau has determined that swing voters in a number of states are largely low-information voters who get their information more from local sources, and are not deeply dialed in to national trends. Thau has conducted hundreds of dial test focus groups and interviewed thousands of Americans. He understands what makes swing voters tick. One thing that never changes: for swing voters, and everyone else, the economy is still crucial.

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Census Pulse Survey Finds Modest Improvements

RR061520 AGClogoJune 15, 2020 – According to Ken Simonson, Associated General Contractors of America chief economist, the Census Bureau released the results of its sixth Small Business Pulse Survey, with responses from May 31 to June 6, that “is intended to provide crucial weekly data on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the nation’s businesses.” There was modest improvement in several metrics for construction firms. The share that added employees was the highest yet (11.5%, vs. 10.1% in the May 24-30 survey). For the fifth-straight week there were declines in the share with a decrease in employees (12.1% vs. 12.4% a week before) or supply-chain disruptions (31.4% vs. 33.3%). The share of construction respondents that closed a location for at least one day was unchanged at 17.8%. More construction firms than in the five previous surveys reported “little or no effect on…normal level of operations relative to one year ago” (17.1% vs. 13.5% one week earlier). More predicted a return to usual level within three months or less (25.6% vs. 22.3%). There was a decrease in the share who expect that returning to normal level would take more than six months (30.2% vs. 35.0%) but a small increase in the share who do not believe their business will return to normal (6.3% vs. 5.3%). 

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NSSGA Kicks Off Virtual Leadership Summit

RR061020 NSSGAJune 10, 2020 – The National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA), as part of its virtual Executive Committee & Leadership Summit, hosted economist Anirban Basu, who took participants through recent economic ups and downs via charts, graphs, explanations and somehow The Lord of the Rings. Basu concluded that despite the ongoing negative signals, “the recovery is afoot.” But it won’t be fast. He also noted that low interest rates and the amount of money flowing through the economy coupled with a housing market characterized by low inventory equals positive signals for the construction market. The event – part of a series of NSSGA webinars taking place over the next week – was sponsored by John Deere.

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Illegal Sand Dredging

RR061020 KoreaJune 10, 2020 – In an article on CNN Business, North Korea is accused of operating an illegal sand-processing business. Satellite images seem to confirm that ships at work near the city of Haeju are being used to dredge and transport sand. North Korea is actually barred from exporting earth and stone under United Nations sanctions passed in December 2017. Trading North Korean sand is a violation of international law. Despite those measures, North Korea raked in at least $22 million last year using "a substantial sand-export operation," United Nations investigators said in a report released in April. One unnamed country supplied intelligence claiming that Pyongyang sent one million tons of sand abroad from May 2019 until the end of the year.

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New House Bill Would Replace FAST Act

RR052319 HighwayBillJune 4, 2020 – The House has released the text of the “Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America” (INVEST in America) Act. The legislation provides $494 billion over five years to make "transformative infrastructure investments in surface and rail transportation." It would replace the FAST Act. It also:

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