Construction in Southwest metro regions up 11.3%
The BidClerk Construction Index (BCI) registered an 11.3% year-over-year increase in construction activity for major-metro regions in the Southwest U.S.
There was a vast disparity in the rate of progress depending on the type of construction, however; the uptick rides entirely on the shoulders of the public sector. Private construction was down 6.3%, while public construction increased 23.9%.
There is also great geographic disparity within the region itself. Combined public and private projects that were actively bidding in Phoenix were down 6.2%, while those in Las Vegas increased 22.6% and those in Albuquerque were up by as much as 50%.
The metros in question include Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, Prescott, Tucson, Yuma, Las Vegas-Paradise, Reno-Sparks, Albuquerque and Santa Fe.
The total value of all projects in the region (of those bidding in the third quarter of 2013) was $1.6 billion, down from Q2’s $2 billion total contract value. According to the organization, this reflects seasonal trends.
Consumer confidence reels in the aftermath of shutdown
Consumer confidence took a big hit in October.
At 71.2, the index was down 11.2% from September’s upwardly revised figure of 80.2, the Conference Board reports.
Confidence had declined slightly in September as well (from August’s 81.8), which suggests that the Congressional standoff wasn’t the only factor driving October’s figures down (though it was still one of the sharpest drops since last January, during the sequestration crisis).
“Consumer confidence deteriorated considerably as the federal government shutdown and debt-ceiling crisis took a particularly large toll on consumers’ expectations," said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. "Similar declines in confidence were experienced during the payroll tax hike earlier this year, the fiscal cliff discussions in late 2012, and the government shutdown in 1995/1996. However, given the temporary nature of the current resolution, confidence is likely to remain volatile for the next several months."
The Present Situation Index was down to 70.7 from 73.5. Though fewer people assessed current business conditions as "good," the amount of respondents viewing them as "bad" also decreased. There was a 0.1% increase in those viewing jobs as "plentiful," but at the same time, more people said that jobs are "hard to get."
Meanwhile, the Expectations Index fell to 71.5 from 84.7. This was consistent with a drop in those expecting business conditions to improve, as well as an increase in those expecting them to worsen.
October’s reading is the lowest since April 2013, though it still comes in behind the year-ago index of 73.1.
Electrolux plant celebrates milestone
Electrolux hit a 25-year milestone at its refrigeration plant in Anderson, S.C.
The plant’s 1,800 employees manufacture 9,300 top-mount refrigerators each day, or 2 million annually. Each year, the company manufactures one out of every two top-mount refrigerators sold in the U.S. market.
To celebrate the milestone, all plant employees, along with their families, were invited to partake in a variety of festivities, including plant tours, hayrides, music, kids’ activities and a barbecue lunch.
Highlights of the day included the recognition of employees who had been with the plant since the first day in 1988 and a reading of a letter of congratulations sent by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley to Jack Truong, president and CEO of Electrolux Major Appliances North America.
The Governor’s letter stated in part: “Electrolux has provided many opportunities for our state and our citizens, and we are proud to count your company among the many world-class companies that call South Carolina home. We build things in South Carolina, and we build them well.”
In addition, the local fire department offered fire safety training, and the animal shelter offered animals for adoption. The plant made a donation to both organizations to thank them for helping make the event special for families.