Mid-summer News

The most recent economic data shows a U. S. economy in better shape and headed towards more robust growth throughout the remainder of 2014. Construction starts are up 6.6% year-over-year in May, unemployment declined again to 6.1% and even the big drop in GDP of 2.9% in the first quarter was shrugged off as an anomaly because of the weather. This last report bears closer examination, however.

Stuck in the data of the Bureau of Economic Analysis’s June 25 report was a detail on reduced consumer spending in the first quarter. When you pick it apart it becomes clear that consumers were actually spending in the places we commonly associate with consumer spending (retail, restaurants, appliances), even if the weather took the edge off. The red flag was a huge drop of roughly 30% in healthcare spending. While some of this can also be attributed to the weather (discretionary doctor’s visits pushed back), most of the decline is due to the impact of Obamacare.

In a slow bidding environment, a couple of opportunities stand out. 4Moms has asked Burchick, A. Martini & Co., MBM, Mosites & TEDCO to bid its 78,000 sq. ft. fitout in Elmhurst’s 912 Ft. Duquesne Blvd building. Pitt took CM proposals last Thursday for its $17 million Murtha Center at the Johnstown campus from Mascaro, Massaro, PJ Dick, Rycon & Volpatt. the Ligonier Valley YMCA is taking bids July 22 from A. Martini & Co., Dick Building Co. Jendoco, MBM, Turner & Volpatt on its $6 million addition. Millcraft/McKnight has selected Carl Walker Construction to build its parking garage and 25,000 sq. ft. retail center at the former Saks Fifth Avenue site.

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