Word on RealStreet!

 

In this Season of Gratitude, 
We Simply Want to Say 
Thank You.

Everyone at RealStreet 
Wishes You  a Very 
Happy Thanksgiving!


Sincerely,
  
Katy Cook, CSP
Marketing Coordinator
 

What's Happening at RealStreet?
We Still Need Your Help!
As one of the lead companies supporting the hurricane recovery efforts, we and those affected have a great need for skilled architects, engineers and construction professionals to assist in this critical mission.  We encourage you to check out the job posting on our website, look us up on CareerBuilder or reach out to us directly at 410-480-8002.  Resumes can be submitted via e-mail to  Irma2017@RealStreet.com  or online, directly from the job post



Why Join RealStreet's Team? 

RealStreet has been a  FEMA Public Assistance Technical Assistance Contractor (PA-TAC) since 2004. During this time, we have developed a reputation as a dependable and highly respected organization, not just because we provide FEMA with highly skilled Technical Specialists, but also because we take care of our employees. For example: 
  • They are W2 positions - enjoy the tax benefits!
  • Full expenses are paid, including travel to and from the site, lodging and per diem in accordance with the GSA schedule!
  • Receive reliable, weekly pay.
  • Health plans, LTD, dental, and vision plans are available.
  • A generous 401(k) with a huge company match is available upon attaining eligibility.
  • You will have a point of contact that ensures you are doing well when on assignment. 
Sound good? What are you waiting for? Apply today!

Please pass this email along to anyone you know who might b e a good fit for this vital mission. Thank you!




CELEBRATIONS!

 
RealStreet wishes you a very 
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
  • Kelly G. - 11/16
  • Jennifer P. - 11/25 

OFFICE CLOSINGS:

RealStreet will be closed:
  • November 10th
  • November 23rd
  • November 24th
white_pink_birthday_cake.jpg



Interesting Industry Information
How Does the Job Market Look?
For another look at the information, check out the  BLS' interactive graphs.
The U.S. Department of Labor - Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes a "M onthly Jobs Report"  soon after the beginning of each month. Each report describes the previous month's employment situation, based on data such as the number of jobs that were added to the economy and the unemployment rate.  The US economy saw a loss of 156,000 jobs last month while the unemployment rate decreased slightly to 4.2%, the lowest it's been since 2001. The September Jobs Report contained a call-out, describing how the BLS accredits the unexpected drop in jobs to the recent hurricane disasters, but why did both numbers drop? According to a recent Forbes article, the contradiction is possible because the data is from two separate surveys, with two distinct sample groups. 

The ADP Research Institute provides an alternative look at our country's employment situation. The report, which is always released two days prior to the publication of the BLS Employment Situation, showed an increase of 135,000 within the private non-farm sector. According to Market Realist, this report includes private non-farm payroll while the BLS Report includes both private and government sectors.

Construction Industry 

The construction community did not see as big of a hit to hiring as many other industries. In fact, as shown in the image below,  (from Architect Magazine)   it saw growth, particularly in the nonresidential sector.
 


However, with the decline in new construction projects, the  Dodge Data & Analytics ' Momentum  Index dropped 8.4% in September, from 127.1 in August, to 116.4. T he Dodge Momentum Index tracks and measures the initial reporting of non-residential building projects. Despite the decline, Dodge optimistically points out how the industry has seen significant improvements in recent years, and that it saw a decline around the same time last year.

Future Indicators  
 
According to the  American Institute of Architects (AIA) the September Architecture Billings Index (ABI) shows a slight decrease in demand for design services. According to the AIA, the ABI is the leading economic indicator of construction activity, as it "reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lead time between architecture billings and nonresidential construction spending." 

According to the AIA, 
  • September ABI Score: 49.1 (53.7 - August)
  • September New Projects Inquiry Index: 59 (62.5 - August)
  • September New Design Contracts Index: 52.9 (56.4 - August)
While unemployment has dropped to a 16 year low, architecture billings have declined and new construction project starts have decreased, not all economic indicators are as negative - or bad at all!  
  • The hurricanes had a more significant impact the service industries (which tend to have lower wages) and without these jobs, unemployment rate increases, while average wages increase (Washington Post)
  • Overall, average hourly earnings continue in an upward trend, up 2.9% from Sept. 2016 (Architect Magazine)
  • Average hourly earnings are 10% higher in the construction industry that others (AGC
  • The construction industry added 8,000 jobs in September, 184,000 jobs over a year (AGC)
  • Architecture & Engineering saw its 17th straight month of growth in September (Architect Magazine)
Uncertainty Lingers

Has the economy simply taken a temporary hit from the storms or are there other factors that need to be considered?  According to a recent CNBC article, Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's, believes that the job market was simply hurt by the hurricanes, stating "looking through the storms the job market remains sturdy and strong."  Ahu Yildirmaz,  vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute, believes the job market was not only impacted by the storms, but also by the lack of competitive compensation for skilled talent. In other words, we cannot use the storm to cover up the impact of true and lasting issues. The need for skilled professionals is going to persist, and must be addressed. How companies respond, only time will tell.
Cyber Security
KRACK
Are you careful about what networks you connect to and what types of information you send? While you may feel safe on your secure home or office network, the wireless world, and everything in it, recently became a lot more exposed.

A serious and wide-ranging wireless security flaw was announced last month, potentially impacting individuals and businesses alike.  It could affect most wireless devices, including cell phones, tablets, laptops, desktop computers, smart home devices, (e.g. wireless thermostats/lights/alarm systems, etc.) internet access points and routers, even gaming consoles!  The flaw, known as KRACK, is linked to WPA2, a security protocol used in most Wi-Fi devices. The protocol enables the encrypted transmission of information between wireless devices. 

A recent TIME article explained the wireless security protocol simply. When a device joins a protected Wi-Fi network, a four-way handshake takes place. The process ensures that the device has the correct login credentials for the network, and once confirmed, generates a new encryption key. The key is installed during the third step of the four-way handshake, but if the access point believes the message has been lost or dropped, it will resend the same key (and can be done multiple times). During this step, a misappropriated key can be reused in ways that undermine the encryption,  allowing attackers to intercept sensitive data transmitted between wireless devices.  Additionally, the flaw could allow the attacker to redirect traffic on a network or interject data, including malware, onto the network. 

All wireless device can be impacted, however Linux based systems and Android devices using Marshmallow (Android 6.0) or higher are at an increased risk. At this point, businesses and public  Wi-Fi networks (e.g. Starbucks, airports, hotels, etc.) should be avoided as they provide a much richer environment (and cover) for an attack.  It appears  unlikely that individuals (homes) would be the target of attacks at this time, but it is important to take precautions.  

Microsoft has already released a patch and many others are working to do the same.  Some vendors, especially for older devices, may never address the issue. 

Android  Central provided the following tips to stay safe:
  • Avoid public Wi-Fi at all costs. This includes Google's protected Wi-Fi hotspots until Google says otherwise. If your carrier forces your phone to Wi-Fi when in range, visit the forum for your phone to see if there's a workaround to stop it from happening.
  • Only connect to secured services. Web pages that use HTTPS or another secure connection will include HTTPS in the URL. You should contact any company whose services you use and ask if the connection is secured using TLS 1.2, and if so your connection with that service is safe for now.
  • If you have a paid VPN service that you trust you should enable the connection full-time until further notice. Resist the temptation to rush and sign-up for any free VPN service until you can find out if they have been vetted and will keep your data secure. Most don't.
  • Use a wired network if your router and computer both have a spot to plug in an Ethernet cable. This exploit only affects 802.11 traffic between a Wi-Fi router and a connected device. Ethernet cables are relatively cheap and an eyesore strung across the carpet is worth it. Look for a Cat6 or Cat5e spec cable and there should be no configuration needed once plugged in. 
  • If you use a Chromebook or MacBook, this USB Ethernet adapter is plug-and-play
The Wi-Fi Alliance has found no evidence that anyone has exploited the vulnerability for malicious use. They are working with device vendors and solutions providers to ensure patches are integrated and/or released as soon as possible. Additionally, consumers are urged to install patches once they are available, stating the issue can be resolved through straightforward software updates from device manufacturers. 

Security is not a one-time purchase or update, it is a dynamic endeavor. Users are urged to stay up to date on this and other issues. Being knowledgeable on the subject will make you more aware of potential threats, help to ensure that you are as protected as possible and better know what to look out for, so that you are not blindsided in the event of an attack.

HOT JOBS!
How many job seekers do you know? Would they be a good fit for one of these positions? 

 To see all of our open positions, check out the  RealStreet Job Board !

RECENT PLACEMENTS
RealStreet has recently filled the following positions!
  • Track Engineer
  • Construction Managers
  • Direct Hire Purchasing 
  • Estimating Manager
  • Program Coordinator
Featured News Post
How to Regroup and Refocus
When Work Gets Overwhelming
A certain amount of work-related stress can be expected with any job. Sometimes it can be a motivator, while other times it can be overwhelming, hindering performance and becoming a burden on your life outside of work. Whether your job is usually hectic during particular times, or it is almost always stressful, it is important to address the anxiety.

Here are four tips to remain composed and focused when you are overworked, and to minimize the impact the pressure has your productivity, job satisfaction and overall well-being.


Retirement Planning 101
Long-Term Investing: 
It's a Marathon, Not a Sprint
Despite short-term market volatility, history has shown that the longer you hold your investments, the more they grow and the more stable your returns generally become. Keeping a steady pace today my help you maximize your wealth in the future.

Need to register your John Hancock account?

 

Online: go to www.jhpensions.com and click on "Register"

  1. Enter your contract number, last name, social security number and date of birth
  2. Enter your email address, and create your username and password
  3. Choose challenge questions and answers
Track your progress towards retirement at any time!

Seasonal Safety
Thanksgiving Safe Driving Tips 
The Thanksgiving weekend signals the start of the holiday season and a flood of drivers hit the road to visit family and friends, and enjoy a turkey feast! While it's not the busiest travel time of the year (5 to 10 days in summer get that honor), it can be one of the most dangerous. The National Safety Commission reports that there are nearly 400 automobile fatalities and thousands of injuries nationwide each year during the long Thanksgiving weekend. Distraction, alcohol, inclement weather, icy roads and heavy traffic all combine to create hazardous conditions. 

Keep your car insurance premiums low and avoid becoming a statistic with these Thanksgiving driving tips.
  • Plan your route and an alternate. Even with GPS systems, it's easy to get lost and confused if you're driving in unfamiliar territory. Set up NAVTEQ's www.traffic.com ahead of time so you can check real-time traffic conditions in route.
  • Designate a navigator. Heavy traffic or poor weather conditions are no time to be fumbling with a cell phone.
  • Gas up the car, check fluid levels, tire inflation and window cleaner reservoirs the day before you travel. Try online services like www.GasBuddy.com to find the best gas bargains while you're on the road.
  • Get a good night's sleep before you travel. If you're feeling drowsy on a long haul, pull over and take a 20-minute nap.
  • Schedule regular stops every couple of hours. Get out of the car and stretch your legs for a few minutes before continuing.
  • Allow an extra hour or two of travel time to compensate for traffic and weather delays. Nobody will complain if you arrive early. They'll probably just hand you a potato peeler and put you to work.
  • If you don't have a DVD player in your car, rent one for the kids (with headphones, unless you want to hear the ABCD song played over and over and over.) Pack in snacks, too. Spoiled appetites are preferable to whiny, hungry children.
  • Don't slack off on safety rules. Young kids need to be in properly installed car seats and everyone has to wear a seat belt.
  • Drive with your lights, even in daytime. It increases your visibility and in some states, like California, it's the law during bad weather conditions.
  • If possible, plan your trip to leave on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and return on the Saturday or Monday after. You'll miss the heavy traffic on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday.  
  • #1 Thanksgiving Safe Driving Tip: Please don't drink and drive.

The aforementioned content was courtesy of EINSURANCE .
Thanksgiving Cooking Fire Safety

Did you know that Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires each year? Avoid cooking and fire accidents with the following tips from the  National Fire Protection Association  (NFPA):
  • Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.
  • Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
  • Keep children at least 3 feet away from the stove. 
  • Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
  • Keep the floor clear so you don't trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
  • Keep knives out of the reach of children.
  • Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
  • Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children - up high in a locked cabinet.
  • Never leave children alone in room with a lit candle.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.
Check out this NFPA Infographic for more Thanksgiving Day Cooking Fire Safety Tips and Statistics.
Cooking a Turkey Safely

Unsafe handling and/or under-cooking turkeys can cause food-borne illness. Keep you and your Thanksgiving guests safe this holiday with the following tips from FoodSafety.gov

Before Cooking:
  • Read labels carefully. Temperature labels show if the bird is fresh or frozen. If you plan to serve a fresh turkey, purchase it no more than two days before Thanksgiving.
  • Purchase two thermometers: a refrigerator thermometer to ensure the turkey is stored at 40°F or slightly below and a food thermometer to make sure the cooked turkey reaches a safe 165°F.
  • Thaw the turkey by using the microwave, the cold water method, or the refrigerator. The refrigerator method is recommended by the USDA.
While Cooking: 
  • Wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before touching any food to prevent the spread of many types of infection and illness.
  • Do not wash the turkey. This only spreads pathogens onto kitchen surfaces. The only way to kill bacteria that causes foodborne illness is to fully cook the turkey.
  • Keep raw turkey separated from all other foods at all times.
  • Use separate cutting boards, plates, and utensils when handling raw turkey to avoid cross-contamination. Wash items that have touched raw meat with warm soap and water, or place them in a dishwasher.
  • Cook the turkey until it reaches 165°F, as measured by a food thermometer. Check the turkey's temperature by inserting the thermometer in three places: the thickest part of the breast, the innermost part of the thigh, and the innermost part of the wing.
Regarding Leftovers: 
  • Refrigerate leftovers within two hours to prevent bacteria from growing on the food.
  • Store leftovers in shallow pans or containers to decrease cooling time. This prevents the food from spending too much time at unsafe temperatures (between 40°F to 140°F).
  • Do not store stuffing inside a leftover turkey. Remove the stuffing from the turkey, and refrigerate the stuffing and the meat separately.
  • Avoid consuming leftovers that have been left in the refrigerator for longer than 3 or 4 days (next Tuesday to be exact). Use the freezer to store leftovers for longer periods of time.
  • Keep leftovers in a cooler with ice or frozen gel packs if the food is traveling home with a guest who lives more than two hours away.
Check out this convenient  FoodSafety Infographic for turkey cooking tips at a glance.
Keep in Touch!
Feedback Wanted! 
We Value Referrals!
Would you mind taking a moment to  write a few sentences  about your experience working with RealStreet?  Thank you!
Who in your network is looking for a new opportunity? 

Check our  open positions to see if any are a match to the job seekers that you know. At RealStreet we value great candidates and when it comes down to it, we know you're the Real Deal! We have a great referral program that compensates you for every qualified referral you provide us.