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Superior Walls moves into Canada

BY HBSDEALER Staff

New Holland, Pennsylvania-based Superior Walls of America is now "of America" — and then some.

The producer of precast concrete insulated wall systems has expanded its operations into Canada with two new licensees that will be manufacturing precast concrete foundation systems.

Superior Walls Alberta (located near Calgary) will be offering Superior Walls Xi products throughout Alberta, and Superior Walls by Magnis (based in Beausejour) will provide Superior Walls Xi Plus throughout Manitoba.

"The Canadian market is primed for our precast concrete products for a multitude of reasons," said Keith Weller, CFO of Superior Walls of America. "Our energy-efficient products meet the demanding energy codes in Canada and perfectly complement the shorter building season in that country due to weather conditions. I have high confidence that the Canadian marketplace will play a major role in our company’s growth in 2015."

The energy-efficient Xi and Xi Plus panels are designed to keep basements warm and dry in harsh, cold northern climates. They feature steel reinforced concrete and insulation that blocks out sidewall water penetration.

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Unemployment drops further to 5.8%

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The national unemployment rate dropped even further in October to 5.8%, given the addition of 214,000 new jobs to the economy.

The number of unemployed persons also dropped in October to 9.0 million. That figure has declined by 1.2 million since the beginning of this year.

However, many crucial metrics — such as the number of long-term unemployed, those employed part-\ time for economic reasons, those marginally attached to the labor force and discouraged workers — saw little progress. The civilian labor force participation rate was relatively flat at 62.8% in October.

In terms of job growth, October’s number fell close behind the average monthly gain of 222,000 jobs over the past 12 months.

Food services and drinking places saw the biggest gain at 42,000 new jobs, with retail trade (27,000) and health care (25,000) coming in second and third.

Manufacturing managed to wrangle in an additional 15,000 jobs.

However, building material and garden supplies stores were down 1.2% since September in terms of total employee count, which now stands at 1.23 million.

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Home Depot says 53 million emails stolen in hack

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Home Depot released additional findings in its investigation of the massive data breach it discovered in September, revealing that about 53 million email addresses were stolen in addition to the 56 million credit cards that were affected.

Though the addresses were compromised, the retailer confirmed in a statement on Thursday that no passwords, credit card information or other sensitive information were hacked in connection with the email addresses.

Other new details included the following:

  • A third-party vendor’s user name and password were used in the initial breach of Home Depot’s network.
     
  • In order to directly access the point-of-sale data, the hackers got hold of "elevated rights" that allowed them to plant custom-built malware into the systems.
     

Home Depot is currently in the process of notifying customers in the United States and Canada whose email addresses were stolen. It is also urging consumers to be on alert for phishing scams.

The Home Depot has been investigating the matter for several weeks now with the help of law enforcement and third-party IT security experts.

The company’s woes are part of a much larger trend of 644 data breaches recorded so far in 2014, according to a recent report from the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC). That’s 78.16 million records exposed this year. To put that in context, approximately 670 million records have been exposed in 4,890 data breaches since 2005.

Home Depot also confirmed its previously issued guidance in the same statement, with fiscal 2014 sales growth approximating 4.8% and diluted earnings per share growth guidance of $4.54 — a 21% increase. This takes into account costs incurred to investigate the data breach, monitor customers’ credit and pay for legal fees, though the company said it hasn’t yet estimated the extent of the "probable losses."

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