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AHMA sees confidence decline in October

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The American Hardware Manufacturers Association (AHMA) reported a decline in industry confidence for the month of October. 

A survey of AHMA members revealed fewer companies reporting higher sales. In comparing current sales levels with year-ago levels, 70% of respondents said sales were higher in October versus year-ago levels, down from 75% in September. For October, 17% reported sales were even, and 13% said sales were below year-ago levels.

“Given the uncertain economic environment in the first few weeks of October resulting from the partial government shutdown, we are encouraged by the continuing high level of sales growth being generated by our members,” said Timothy S. Farrell, president and CEO of the AHMA.

Looking forward six months, 48% of October respondents said they expect sales to be above current levels, down from 63% in September. In October, 48% of respondents said they expect sales to be even in six months and 4% expect sales to be below current levels.

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D.R. Horton elects David Auld as COO

BY HBSDEALER Staff

D.R. Horton, Inc. has promoted David Auld to the position of EVP and COO, where he will oversee the company’s homebuilding regions and help guide its operations.

Auld has been with the company since 1988, joining initially as president of the Orlando division. He was promoted to president of the company’s East region in 2005. His resume also includes stints with Texas American Bank and General Dynamics.

“We welcome David to the new position of Chief Operating Officer," said Donald Horton, chairman of the board. "He has been an influential leader on our D.R. Horton team for 25 years, and his performance as both a division and region president made this an easy decision. His strong financial background and his extensive experience in homebuilding operations will strengthen our executive team.”

“David has been instrumental in leading our East Region for the past eight years and is an integral part of the D.R. Horton team," said president and CEO Donald Tomnitz. "We are very fortunate to have the depth and breadth of his leadership in our organization, and I am excited for David in his new role within the Company."

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Unemployment edges back up to 7.3% in October

BY HBSDEALER Staff

In what was the first such increase since last May, national unemployment figures crept back up by a hair to 7.3% in October, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.

In terms of job gains, leisure and hospitality, retail, professional and technical services, manufacturing and healthcare experienced the most significant progress.

Retail employment was up 44,000, higher than the average monthly gain of 31,000 over the past 12 months. Of that number, 7,000 were attributed to building material and garden supply stores, with food and beverage stores receiving the lion’s share of gains (12,000).

According to calculations from the National Retail Federation, retail gained 37,600 jobs in October, as well as 295,000 year-over-year (a 2.4% increase). 

“The latest jobs report, which came in stronger than anticipated, provides some positive indication that the economy and employment situation are steadily improving,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. “The timing couldn’t be better for retailers and consumers, who are busy preparing for the holiday shopping season.”

Meanwhile, manufacturing added 19,000 jobs in October, most significantly in motor vehicles and parts (+6,000).

Though total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 204,000, the amount of workers on temporary layoff increased by 448,000 among the unemployed. This includes some furloughed federal employees, though the BLS states that there was no discernible impact from the government shutdown.

Meanwhile, there was little movement in terms of the long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or longer). At 4.1 million, they accounted for 36.1% of the unemployed, a number that has declined by nearly 1 million over the past year.

September’s rate of 7.2%, down from August’s 7.3%, represented a five-year low in unemployment.

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