August 29, 2012

Fenton Hord had a huge run at the helm of Stock Building Supply. 

In 1987 he oversaw a seven-unit, $98 million pro dealer. When Hord retired in 2007, Stock was a 350-location, $5 billion “North American Super Power.”

Of course, when the housing starts dried up, Stock remained in the headlines with a well-documented run of bankruptcy and reorganization.

August 23, 2012

Former Stock Building Supply executives Fenton Hord and Steve Short are among the industry veterans behind Cornerstone Building Alliance, LLC, a new holding company looking to invest in distributors, manufacturers and installers. 

Cornerstone’s leadership team includes president and CEO Steve Short, former Stock Building Supply COO, and Fenton Hord, longtime president and CEO of Stock and current Board Member of Investors Management Corporation (IMC), Cornerstone’s parent company.

August 15, 2012

When given a choice, most Americans with traditional health coverage say they chose that option because it offered a good network of providers, according to research findings by the not-for-profit Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).

In contrast, among those with high-deductible consumer-driven health plans, most cited the lower premiums and opportunity to save money in a health savings account (HSA) or health reimbursement arrangement (HRA).

August 10, 2012

True Value Co. has signed a long-term agreement with Alliance Data Systems Corp. to create and manage turnkey private label, co-brand and commercial credit card programs.

The co-brand credit card program is Alliance Data's first Discover card product to utilize the Discover network and its millions of merchant locations. All credit card accounts will be consistent with Alliance Data's traditional credit quality standards.

August 3, 2012

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports this morning that the unemployment rate increased slightly to 8.3%, compared to 8.2% in June. 

Neither the number of unemployed persons – now 12.8 million – nor the unemployment rate has changed much in 2012. 

August 1, 2012

Employee morale The following is a response to the article, “Unhappy employees are staying put.”

“[Unhappy employees are] soon to be going, or at least when the economy improves — that’s when they will leave in droves because of extreme low pay and lack of respect from employers. Why wouldn’t they? No one likes being used or abused. Do you?” — Rick Heath

July 19, 2012

Numbers released today by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) showed continued gains in existing home prices but a slower market for sales. Completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops declined 5.4% percent in June compared to May. In year-over-year figures, June 2012 was 4.5% higher than June 2011.

July 9, 2012

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has announced guidance to state agencies responsible for unemployment insurance regarding short-time compensation, commonly referred to as “work sharing.” 

“Work sharing is a win-win for workers and employers,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “This program will provide more flexibility to workers and employers so they may more efficiently and effectively weather the ups and downs of the economy.”

April 11, 2012

The Federal Reserve’s latest Beige Book report, which covered the period February 18 - April 2, 2012, was not effusive in its assessment of economic activity, pegging expansion at a “modest to moderate pace.” But a closer look at the report, provided by IHS Global Insight, indicate an uptick in housing demand, residential construction activity, consumer spending, employment and lending. The only dark cloud on the horizon, according to the Federal Reserve’s economic analysis, is gas prices. 

April 9, 2012

The nation’s unemployment rate took a slight turn for the better, falling to 8.2%. Also on the “Consumer watch” section, gas prices rose a penny.

April 6, 2012

The latest employment situation report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the national unemployment rate slipped to 8.2% for March, compared with 8.3% in February.

Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 120,000 in March.

According to the bureau, retail trade employment fell by 34,000 in March. A large job loss in general merchandise stores (-32,000) and small losses in other retail industries more than offset gains in health and personal care stores (+6,000).

March 16, 2012

According to a report by CoreLogic, a provider of information, analytics and business services, the United States saw more than 860,000 completed foreclosures between January 2011 and January 2012. There were 69,000 completed foreclosures in January 2012, 65,000 the previous month. In January 2011, the completed foreclosure rate was 80,000.

March 9, 2012

Data released Friday morning by the Bureau of Labor statistics show the unemployment rate for February holding at 8.3%. 

The Employment Situation Summary shows employers added 227,000 jobs in the month, slightly more than expected, according to analyst forecasts. It was also the third straight month that employers added more than 200,000 jobs. 

The 8.3% unemployment rate was unchanged from January, but down from 8.9% in February 2011, and way down from 9.7% in February 2010.

March 5, 2012

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has announced a comprehensive reform plan for the housing finance system that would transition Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to a new mortgage securitization system for single-family and multi-family conventional mortgages.

February 29, 2012

Louisiana-Pacific Corp. reported that it has adjusted its 2011 results to reflect a wider loss in 2011.

After the adjustment, LP’s 2011 net loss was $181.3 million. On Feb. 7, LP reported a net loss of $170.7 million. 

The adjustment comes from a non-cash impairment charge related to its investment in its U.S. Greenfiber joint venture due to information received after the release of earnings.

February 13, 2012

Orlando, Fla. -- Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, addressing a crowd of home builders on the last day of the International Builders' Show here, did his best to explain how low mortgage rates -- his chief weapon to stimulate the housing market -- have fallen short of their goals. But Bernanke’s speech before a crowd of more than 200 attendees was not an apologie; on the contrary, Bernanke seemed a little frustrated about a lack of action in other government and business sectors and seemed worried about the overall effect of the housing crisis on the general economy.

February 6, 2012

The list of housing markets continued to show improvement, according to a measurement by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), which expanded its “Improving Markets Index” to nearly 100 metro regions in February 2012. A total of 29 markets were added, bringing the total to 98 entries on the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI). Thirty-six states are now represented by at least one market on the list. 

February 3, 2012

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 243,000 in January as the nation's unemployment rate declined to 8.3%, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

The better-than-expected jobs report produced an unemployment rate that is down 0.2 percentage points from December and down 0.8 percentage points since August. It's also the lowest rate in almost three years. 

January 12, 2012

Waypoint Real Estate Group, one of the nation's leading acquirers of distressed, single-family properties, and GI Partners, a mid-market private equity firm, have announced a partnership where they will acquire and then rent out more than $250 million in single-family homes. Ultimately, GI hopes to invest more than $1 billion in distressed and foreclosed homes over the next two years, with Waypoint managing the acquisitions and rental conversions.

January 9, 2012

The national unemployment rate is declining, consumer confidence is rising, and stocks on the Home Channel Stock Roundup appear generally in the top right quadrant of the grid.

January 6, 2012

More jobs than expected were created in December as the national unemployment rate fell to its lowest level since February 2009.

According to the Employment Situation Summary released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nonfarm payroll rose by 200,000 in December, and the unemployment rate declined slightly to 8.5% -- down from a revised 8.7% in November.

Analysts and economists had expected about 150,000 new jobs in December. 

January 6, 2012

The Federal Reserve, in a Jan. 4 report sent to members of Congress who sit on banking committees, warned that mortgage lending standards are holding back the nation’s economy.  

The 26-page white paper was an unusual foray into the housing sector for an agency concerned primarily with monetary policy. But Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke stated: “Restoring the health of the housing market is a necessary part of a broader strategy for economic recovery.”  

January 4, 2012

Flooring and ceiling products manufacturer Armstrong World Industries announced this morning the completion of a refinancing and a special dividend payment  by WAVE, its 50% joint venture with Worthington Industries.

Under the deal, WAVE executed a $225 million three-year revolving credit agreement and a $50 million ten-year private placement bond. Proceeds of the transaction were used to repay WAVE's previous credit agreement, as well as to pay $50 million special dividends to each of WAVE's parent companies, Armstrong and Worthington.

January 4, 2012

Two recent fires at Anderson Lumber in Waynesburg, Ky., may be the work of an arsonist, and Pennsylvania Lumbermens Mutual Insurance Co. wants to know who is responsible. The company’s insurer is offering a reward of up to $20,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the Dec. 20 and Jan. 1 blazes, which caused a combined estimate of $1.5 million in damages.

An old, vacant high school in the town has also been set on fire several times during the same time period, according to authorities.