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The Strategist

The Strategist

Home Builder Confidence Surges

The month of October was a time of contrasting, and therefore conflicting, economic news that can be unsettling at times. The month started with a report from the Institute of Supply Management, indicating its manufacturing index fell to 47.8 in September, the lowest level since June 2009, from 49.1 the prior month. Readings below 50 indicate contraction, while those above signify expansion. The August result marked the first drop in three years.

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No Relief in Sight for the Tough Labor Market

By: Pierre G Villere

The future holds great promise, as technology continues to disrupt traditional norms and methods in the construction industry in general, and in the aggregates industry in particular. The future for driverless haul trucks, robotics that will replace traditional loaders, use of drones for multiple functions at quarries operations, and all manner of improvements in materials crushing and handling are on the horizon.

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The Wealth Gap Expands and Consumer Debt Pinches Housing

By: Pierre G. Villere

The expanding wealth gap in America may explain why Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have centered their presidential campaign messages on this topic. Indeed, after studying these metrics, I was surprised by what I found.

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Scared Foreign Buyers Are Affecting Major Housing Markets

By: Pierre G. Villere

As the real estate market collapsed in the fall of 2008, when the financial crisis pushed us over the edge into the Great Recession, a quiet but interesting phenomenon started occurring within a couple of years in the largest markets around the country.

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Home Shoppers Are Increasingly Active

By: Pierre G. Villere

Last month, I wrote about the lack of impact that Millennials are having on the housing market, one of the reasons that new home starts have not returned to even their annual historical averages dating back to 1961. But the National Association of Home Builders recently published some research that is very telling about the current state of the new housing market, attributable in part to a surprising drop in mortgage rates. And interestingly, Millennials are measured as being strongly in the mix.

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Millennials Are Still on the Housing Sidelines

By: Pierre G. Villere

After years of expectations that the housing market would come back to at least its average historical levels of annual starts, The Wall Street Journal recently conducted research that indicates the U.S. housing market is still waiting for a buying surge from the Millennial generation that entered the workforce during the recession, and some of the most bearish among economic analysts say it may never come.

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Why Sentiment Drives Our Entire Economy

By Pierre Villere

Over the course of the last several months, I have been in discussions with the fine editors at several SEMCO Publishing titles, including this magazine. After a decade and a half of writing about the construction materials industry, I have expanded my editorial pursuits to include this excellent publication, as well as its sister title, Concrete Products.

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