July 30, 2021
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Industry News
US gross domestic product grew 6.5% in the second quarter, a slight increase from Q1 but well below economists' forecasts of around 8.4%. Rises in personal consumption, nonresidential fixed investment, government spending and exports are cited as contributing to the gain.
Full Story: CNBC (7/29),  The Hill (7/29) 
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Aluminum deficits are emerging and could result in shortages and a long-term price increase, analysts say. China's reduced output and increased demand are expected to contribute to projected shortages.
Full Story: Bloomberg (7/28) 
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Undergraduate students at Georgia Highlands College in Rome, Ga., will be able to major in building information modeling and virtual design and construction beginning in the spring. The college will join Purdue University in Indiana as one of the few schools with such a program.
Full Story: Construction Dive (7/28) 
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Save 15% on SMACNA's IAQ Guidelines for Occupied Buildings Under Construction
This is your source for providing project management guidance in maintaining satisfactory indoor air quality (IAQ) of occupied buildings undergoing renovation or construction. Click here to order and use Promo Code JULY2021 at checkout.
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Trends & Technology
Machine learning and artificial intelligence are important technologies that add value to the production process, but humans are still necessary to convert data into intelligent decisions, writes Arno Koch, owner of Makigami BV. Koch offers six recommendations for how factories can integrate smart technology, and notes that "simplification, standardization, stabilization, engaging people and reduction of non-value-adding activities are good ideas."
Full Story: IndustryWeek (7/28) 
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On the whole, public-private partnerships do better than design-bid-build projects at achieving equity goals, according to a study by researchers at the University of Maryland. The study also notes that larger projects tend to do better meeting Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program objectives.
Full Story: PhysOrg/University of Maryland (7/28) 
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The zero-trust architecture has been accepted by almost every one of the 1,200 decision-makers surveyed by Microsoft. "The shift to hybrid work, accelerated by COVID-19, is also driving the move towards broader adoption of Zero Trust with 81% of organizations having already begun the move toward a hybrid workplace," writes Microsoft executive Vasu Jakkal.
Full Story: ZDNet (7/29) 
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Legal, Legislative and Regulatory News
Renewable energy projects may be able to find tax relief under the terms of IRS Notice 2021-41, which extends some eligibility deadlines due to the coronavirus pandemic, write attorneys Jennifer Tolsky and Patrick Johnson. "Luckily, even if your project is not completed in a linear fashion, as was the case before the pandemic, or is delayed, Safe Harbors allow for non-linear construction scheduling without the risk of losing these tax credits," they write.
Full Story: JD Supra/Gould & Ratner (7/26) 
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Employers can claim tax breaks for paid time off used by employees to take family members or others to receive COVID-19 vaccines or to care for them as they recover, the IRS has announced. In the expansion of a tax break started in spring, self-employed people can claim a similar deduction.
Full Story: Accounting Today (free registration) (7/29) 
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Business Ownership
Encourage employees to take pride in creating an ethical and compliance-friendly culture by giving them autonomy and modeling values-driven behavior from the top down, writes HRCI CEO Amy Schabacker Dufrane. Train managers to lead discussions on how people might approach various hypothetical situations from an ethical standpoint to embed values within everyday decision-making, Dufrane writes.
Full Story: Corporate Compliance Insights (7/27) 
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