My job

is to scowl at people. I am pretty good at it.

I protect fiber going into and out of Bay County Florida. This fiber, unlike that in Iowa and South Dakota, is mainly in the right of way of busy and growing major thoroughfares. I typically get called at engineering, ground breaking and utility installation of construction projects.

My locate tickets have dropped by more than 50 percent in the last 30 days.

My manager who has technicians in North and Central Florida has said he has seen slow downs across his area with two exceptions in Southernish Florida.

I have not gotten solid reports from the Mid-West yet, but text conversations lead me to believe the technicians have more time on their hands now than they have had for a couple of years.

As I am in the beginning of a construction project, not permits without a locate ticket, I see some significant reductions in pressure in the economy coming up. As a lot of this tends to cascade, we may see some distress sells of non essential items by next spring.

Also, with the dollar strong and Europe in a very bad way, bargains in Europe may be very compelling next year.



I do specific types of due diligence for commercial leading. That market is DOA. I don’t know what the percentage drop off is, but it is huge.


Could you explain this, please?

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<specific types of due diligence for commercial leading. >

Could you explain this, please?

Sure. I do a bunch of different things (jack-of-all trades), but in a nutshell I identify the presence or absence of potential environmental liability issues that might devalue the collateral. For example, if a former dry cleaner had been located on the property. If there was, then I investigate, determine the scope of the problem, and sometimes remediate the issue.

I also prepare cost estimates for how much it would cost to maintain the asset over the loan term. Things like HVAC, roofing, life safety, etc. The bank uses the estimate to see if the collateral will generate enough income to maintain itself. Then I also do construction loan monitoring, which is the same kind of thing. Make sure that the project is proceeding according to schedule, if the reported costs are in line with draw requests, and there is enough budget remaining to complete the project.

In my observation, my industry is a knife’s edge leading economic indicator. When I slow down, dark times are soon to follow. That might not be the case here, because obviously interest rates have gone up and that’s killed commercial lending so maybe it is different this time. But my colleagues across the country report they are dead in the water.



Thank you. New stuff for me!


david fb


syke6 is already one of your Favorite Fools.

Thanks for the fascinating explanation!


Now THESE are useful leading indicators:

My locate tickets have dropped by more than 50 percent in the last 30 days.

I do specific types of due diligence for commercial leading. That market is DOA. I don’t know what the percentage drop off is, but it is huge.

Fiber / utility locates (“call 1-800-DIG-RITE”) are a good 6-12 month leading indicator because any addition of connectivity (copper / coax / fiber) into strip malls, office parks, etc. will often require existing utilities to mark their presence to avoid backhoe outages, etc. and any underground or vault work requires coordination well in advance of a new business moving in.

Due diligence work for lending should obviously be a requirement for any lending unless the borrower owns a 30,000 square foot condo in a really popular “68 story” skyscraper. (Too soon???) New businesses rarely start without initial loans and existing businesses aren’t typically able to expand without new loans so a significant drop in this field is an indicator of a slowdown / lack of confidence.


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After Years of Low Mortgage Rates, Home Sellers Are Scarce

Home­own­ers with low mort­gage rates are balking at the prospect of sell­ing their homes to bor­row at much higher rates for their next homes, a de­vel­op­ment that could limit the sup­ply of houses for sale for years to come.

Hous­ing in­ven­tory has risen from record lows ear­lier this year as more homes sit on the mar­ket longer. But the num­ber of newly listed homes in the four weeks ended Sept. 18 fell 20% year-over-year, ac­cord­ing to real-es­tate bro­ker­age Redfin Corp. That is an in­di­ca­tion that sell­ers who don’t need to sell are stay­ing on the side­lines, econ­o­mists say.…

I really hope Powell & Co. are listening. They’ve mostly accomplished what they set out to do, but the aggregate numbers take a month or two to reflect it. I fear they’re running scared, which is not good for the economy or the market.