How the Recession Has Affected the Commercial Construction Industry

For some time, I have asked myself (and others), “What was so great about The Great Recession?” This economic crisis has been deemed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as the worst world-wide recession since World War II. Its impact has been felt in nearly every industry imaginable, and particularly in the construction industry. It ran its course for 18 interminably long months, between 2007 and 2009; the worst period occurred at mid-year, 2009.How did it affect the commercial construction industry and what has/will be happening nearly 5 years after the official “end” of the Great Recession?What happened?The construction industry is accustomed to cyclical changes but the Great Recession was hardly a typical downturn or cyclical change. No sector of the construction industry was spared from the harsh impact of the Great Recession; not residential, commercial, industrial, or heavy and civil engineering.One aspect of the recession that is not often mentioned is that the cyclical boom of the construction industry was followed directly by the recession, leaving a large glut of residential and commercial real estate on the market.As the recession deepened, homeowners were defaulting on their homes, others were not buying homes as they had planned, and investors were being extremely cautious in financing new construction projects.2012 – 2013 was predicted to be a period of growth and non-residential construction activity was expected to continue its recovery. Once, again, there were recovery delays, fueled in part by government and financial institutions:

A federal budget sequester resulting in scaled back government spending.

A federal government shutdown.

Credit restrictions placed on construction projects, home loans, loans in general.

Increasing long-term interest rates based on expectation of the government reducing its stimulus program.
Those factors, and the extremely slow recovery of the world economy, certainly had a direct and negative influence on the construction industry.Moving into 2015So what is the state of commercial construction in 2014 and beyond? Recovery is happening, but not at an increased pace. Factors that (according to industry observers) influenced growth in 2014:

Weather-related delays on projects at the start of the year.

Ongoing sluggishness in the institutional market and lowered construction spending projections.

Financial institutions continued their restrictive lending practices.
Is there any good news? Yes! Let’s look at some of the more favorable changes in 2014 and some positive indicators going into 2015:

Some easing of lending restrictions; loans rose 4 percent in the second quarter of 2014, most of it related to the commercial real estate industry.

Commercial construction projects are rapidly increasing in several regions of the U.S., particularly in Texas (Houston) and the southern region in general, and New York (Rochester and New York City), Massachusetts (Boston), and Louisiana (New Orleans).

Consumers are “cautiously optimistic” and spending is up, as is the increase in jobs.
The commercial construction industry was, and continues to be deeply affected by the Great Recession. But industry watchers, like consumers, are cautiously optimistic (with more emphasis on cautious than optimistic) that the industry is slowly and steadily moving forward.

Lack of Parity in Treatment in the Mental Health Care Field

A bill was recently passed in the House of Representatives to insure that there existed parity among mental health patients and physical health patients regarding treatment. However, this parity shows only a lack of fair treatment, when it comes to me and my fellow mental health consumers and the way we are treated by the medical system as a whole. We are suppose to have the same affordable services available to us, as well as the high standard level of care with concern to customer satisfaction, that all people receive. This should be the case whether payments are through private or public insurances, which give us the opportunity to receive these services.Perhaps it’s the stigma regarding mental health that still exists. This stigma exists not only among the general public but also within the ranks of mental health treatment teams, which include doctors, nurses, social workers, and many others. On the other hand, it could be that the “powers that be” do not see an impending need for the type of care we need and the undoubtable existence of it being a life and death situation, as is often the case with physical needs. Not only do we hurt emotionally with our pain, but we hurt physically as well. The stress that is placed on us, through poor hospital conditions and a broad use of a non- thorough- plan aimed at treating the individual as a whole in order to produce recovery, is something that should be looked at closely in regards to policy.First, in looking at the members of the treatment team, who provide our care, it is evident to me through my experience, while receiving services as a consumer and witnessing the implementation and behind the scenes talk of my coworkers while working as a peer provider, that the stigmas are far reaching; and, we are often looked at as a thorn-in-the side of the health care system. As a consumer, I have experienced the rude and disconcerting, downgrading talk from mental health techs and nurses, when even a simple question is asked. Doctors will often give you a ten minute window of time when you are describing what you are experiencing; and, when you do ask a question in regards to your care, you often do not receive an answer in a way which is concurrent with the active involvement that you as a consumer should have in your health care plan. I have experienced caseworkers who do not return your phone calls, because they feel that you are nothing but a bother; and I have experienced a social worker who tells you that if it was up to him you would never be released from the hospital. These are a few of the many ways in which we, as consumers of a mental health system, are treated. Many consumers feel that we have no way of giving customer feedback, nor do we feel that our feedback would be considered to be of any meaning to anyone, even if it was received.If actually investigated, individuals with even the hardest of hearts would break down to tears as they looked at the facilities and the conditions that we must bear as consumers, while attempting to recover from an episode of psychosis, depression, or another label. They would find hospitals with beds that are nothing more than cots with a thin foam pad on which to sleep. They would find a ward that holds upwards to fifty people with nothing more than two short hallways and a small dayroom area. When the opportunity arises to go outside, it consists of nothing more that walking back and forth on a concrete catwalk with bars above and on the sides and only thirty feet of walking space allowable. In some facilities, the shower must be shared with all fifty people on that ward. It is unkempt and unsanitary, most of the time, and consumers often have to use the shower with no hot water and very little soap. With these conditions, consumers have difficulty maintaining a good quality of hygiene.These are just a few conditions that can be compared to a hospital room shared by two patients, while in a facility treating physical health problems. As for the food, well, I just won’t even go there.As you can see, the lack of parity is clear and nothing ever seems to be done about it. No quality, unified training for the health professionals exists. I have not seen any upgraded facilities, and there still remains no consumer input into our treatment. This leaves many consumers still far away from the goal of recovery. And, a new rise of consumers have developed who have suffered not only these poor standards of care, but they have also been forced to receive injections, medications, and electroshock treatments ordered by the court. These individuals are now calling themselves “psychiatric survivors.” In my opinion, such treatment takes away the very liberties which the court is supposed to protect.

Affiliate Marketing Business Tips

Affiliate marketing isn’t the easiest field to get into. There are plenty of would-be online marketers who have joined many marketing programs only to become frustrated at their inability to earn money on the Internet. Statistics show that only 20% of all affiliate marketers make 80% of all the income derived from marketing. Meanwhile, the remaining 80% in the minority have to share 20% of the remaining income.While this is a depressing scenario to think about, there are ways with which you can propel yourself to the top 20% of earners in the field of affiliate marketing. In order to succeed, here are several affiliate marketing business tips which you will find useful in your quest:Tip 1. Make sure you focus on a niche. Affiliate marketing is more than just adding affiliate links on your site. You need to zero in on a target audience whose specific needs you can meet with a prime niche product or service.Tip 2. Choose quality products or services, and not because the program that sells them offers high commissions. If you promote substandard products or services, your reputation as an marketer is bound to suffer.Tip 3. Make friends with your customers. Treat them as you would your dearest friends. One mistake marketers make is to act like consummate salespersons. This only scares prospective clients off. If you show that you genuinely care, it will make them feel more valued and cement their status as repeat-customers.Tip 4. Establish your expertise in your niche. When you are perceived as an authority in your field, your credibility increases, and the more your customers will trust you and the products and services you are promoting.