July 2017 Newsletter

July 2017 Newsletter

As I write this in late July we are experiencing a heat wave and a dry spell here in Greenville, SC. The dry weather is appreciated after a wet spring; the heat not so much. All of the shenanigans in Washington have negatively impacted the economy and now several economists are revising GDP projections downward, from around 2.2% to 1.5% or so.

Dear Friends,

As I write this in late July we are experiencing a heat wave and a dry spell here in Greenville, SC. The dry weather is appreciated after a wet spring; the heat not so much.

All of the shenanigans in Washington have negatively impacted the economy and now several economists are revising GDP projections downward, from around 2.2% to 1.5% or so. This is already having a slight dampening effect on construction. This slowdown has at least moderated all the price increases we have been seeing so that’s a bit of a silver lining. See below for a closer look at pricing trends for our top products.

Price Updates
    • As has been the trend for the past several months, prices for most of the items we distribute were unchanged in July and few of our suppliers announced future price increases. This may change soon depending on the outcome of the Section 232 investigation by the Trump administration.


    • As was noted in our June newsletter, shipments of imported rebar to the US have virtually ground to a halt due to the risk of significant duties being imposed after the Section 232 investigation is completed. There is little to no availability in some US markets and this holds true for the Southeast, except for the port in Jacksonville, FL. It is expected that the imported rebar in Jacksonville will be sold out in early to mid-August.


    • With there being little to no availability of less expensive imported rebar in August in the Southeast, most analysts expect domestic rebar mills to increase prices in August. The price for scrap steel on US metal exchanges was unchanged in July from June. It is expected that the price for scrap steel in the US to be flat or increase modestly in August. Most analysts expect domestic mills to wait until the price of scrap steel is announced in August before increasing prices. If you have projects which require rebar, we strongly urge you to buy out these jobs as soon as possible, as if domestic mills do increase prices in August, the price increases will go into effect the date of the announcement.


    • With drier weather in July than in June, demand for SYP and spruce dimensional lumber increased in July. The market began to move up on both types of dimensional lumber the 2nd week in July and prices have increased each Friday since. Most analysts expect weekly price increases to continue for most, if not all, of August. If you have projects to buy out, you should consider buying these projects out as soon as possible to avoid paying higher prices in the future.


    • Wire rod manufacturers were unable to push through a $20/ton price increase in July and as a result, concrete reinforcing wire mesh prices were basically unchanged in July. As with rebar, the uncertainty of the outcome of the Section 232 investigation is limiting shipments of imported wire rod to the US. If supply of imported wire rod follows the pattern of imported rebar, which is expected, domestic wire rod manufacturers will, in all likelihood, increase prices in the next month or two.


    • Tremco Incorporated, one of the premier manufacturers of waterproofing, sealants, and air barrier systems announced on June 16th they will increase prices by 3.9% on September 1st on all products except extruded rubber products. Be sure to factor in this price increase if you are bidding any projects which specify Tremco products.


    • Resin manufacturers did not increase prices in July and have not announced any price increases for August. As their raw material costs have stabilized, polyethylene and polyolefin vapor barrier manufacturers have indicated they will hold their current prices through August and possibly through September.


    • The producer price index (PPI) for final demand in June, not seasonally adjusted, increased 0.2% from May and 2.0% year-over-year (y/y) from June 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported on Thursday. AGC posted tables and an explanation focusing on construction prices and costs.


Click here for the latest update on the construction economy from Ken Simonson, the chief economist of the AGC.

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Associate Profile

Cindy Vance


Our Associate profile this month is of Cindy Vance, an inside salesperson in our Atlanta branch. Cindy is original from Palm Beach, Florida where she graduated from Green Acres Christian Academy. Prior to joining us in March of 2016 she worked at Home Depot for 15 years and was the owner of Carousel Pony Parties for 11 years, doing pony parties for small children. As you might expect, her hobbies are horseback riding and also fishing. Cindy is single and has two daughters, Savannah (21) and Haley (20). Cindy always has a smile and has been a great addition to our team.

Our management article this month is titled, Determine if Your Employee is Ready to Be a Manager With these Seven Tips. Sometimes you’re not sure if someone is ready to be promoted to a manager role so this article may be of help if you are in that situation.




Determine if Your Employee is Ready to Be a Manager With these Seven Tips

By Anna Ranieri

Just because an employee is good at their job, doesn’t necessarily mean they will be a good manager. It requires a different set of skills to be a successful leader compared to an individual contributor. Here are seven tips to help determine if an employee is capable of taking the next step.

  1. Gauge interest
    A good starting point, according to Anna Ranieri, executive coach and author of the forthcoming Connecting the Dots: Telling the Story to Advance Your Career, is to determine whether your ambitious direct report is, in fact, “interested in,” and, “geared toward management,” and not just “going through the motions, and thinking that he or she been at the organization a certain number of years so it’s time for a promotion.”

  2. Assess Experience
    Linda Hill, professor at Harvard Business School recommends finding out if the employee has had other management experience. She also suggests asking, “How do you spend your time outside of work? Perhaps this person volunteers and recently ran a campaign for a nonprofit. That shows she likes to mobilize others and lead.”

  3. Test organizational know-how
    Once you have a sense of the aspiring manager’s interest level and past experience, you need to get a handle on their “understanding of the organization—its culture, its needs, and where she thinks it’s going,” says Ranieri. Make sure they understand the big picture of the company and think systematically.

  4. Seek other opinions
    Ranieri also suggests discussing the prospective manager’s potential with other colleagues and fellow team leaders. Getting a sense of what fellow employees think of the candidate will give you a better sense of how they might act as manager.

  5. Observe
    It’s also important to observe your ambitious report in action. Think about your impressions of this person. Are they curious? Do they like to learn? When they’re faced setbacks, are they resilient?

  6. Heed red flags
    If the candidates are not open to feedback, rarely consider other people’s points of view, or don’t exhibit professional courage, they might not be right fit.

  7. Have faith
    The thing is, “no one is going to score a perfect 10,” says Hill. Don’t lose sight of the fact that you’re “measuring a person’s potential” and determining whether someone is ready to be a boss isn’t a perfect science. Ranieri points out that it’s also helpful to remember your own experience. “Think back to when you took on your first managerial role or your first big project,” she says. “Maybe you weren’t sure you could do it. But someone took a leap of faith on you. Even if you weren’t 100% successful the first time, you eventually got there.”

That’s all I have for this month. I hope to be able to share better economic news next month.

Best regards,

Jim Sobeck
President 864-263-4377
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Author of The Real Business 101: Lessons From the Trenches
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