REMODELING ON THE REBOUND

REMODELING ON THE REBOUND

The home remodeling industry is regaining its momentum after a year of slower growth, according to a study by Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies.

The center's index that tracks remodeling activity is up 3.4 percent for the fourth quarter, and is projected to grow 4.4 percent in the first quarter of 2016 and 6.8 percent in the second three months of the year. That follows a slowdown in growth that began in the fourth quarter of last year and persisted into the third quarter of 2015, when activity rose 2.4 percent.

Activity had peaked with a 10 percent in the third quarter of 2014.

The index is tied to the housing market, which improved during the summer. Homeowners tend to start remodeling projects before and after they buy or sell a home.

But factors like slower shipments of building materials and rising interest rates could keep the remodeling industry's growth in the mid-single digit percentages, says Abbe Will, a research analyst with the Joint Center for Housing Studies.

WORKPLACE DIVERSITY

Small businesses have diverse workforces when it comes to lower-level employees, but lag behind in their management ranks, according to a survey released by the advocacy group Small Business Majority.

The survey of 500 small business owners found that nearly a quarter have at least one Hispanic employee, 18 percent have at least one black staffer and 6 percent have at least one American Indian or Alaskan native employee. Five percent of the owners reported having at least one Asian or Pacific Islander employee and 24 percent said they had at least one other non-white employee.

But minorities were underrepresented among managers, Small Business Majority said. Owners reported that 9 percent of their managers are black, 8 percent are Hispanic and 2 percent are American Indian or Alaskan native. One percent were Asian or Pacific Islander and 6 percent were from another non-white minority.

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