Archive for the 'National' Category

Caterpillar Announces New Strategy for Vocational Truck Product Family

Company to Bring Vocational Truck Production to a U.S. Caterpillar Facil

Caterpillar Inc. recently announced it will begin independently designing and manufacturing its vocational truck product family at its plant in Victoria, Texas. The plant, which opened in 2012, currently produces hydraulic excavators.

“The on-highway vocational truck product family is important to our product line; customers like our trucks and want to include them in their fleets in a variety of heavy duty applications such as dump trucks, mixers, haulers or one of the other configurations we offer ,” said Chris Chadwick, Caterpillar’s director of the Global On-Highway Truck Group. “To continue to provide the best solution for our customers, we will bring the design and manufacturing of this product into Caterpillar, and the production specifically to Victoria. Our updated strategy reaffirms our commitment to grow and develop our presence in the vocational truck industry moving forward.”

Caterpillar launched its first vocational truck, the CT660, in the North American market in 2011. Two more models have since been added to the lineup, the CT680 and CT681. To date, Caterpillar has worked with Navistar for the products’ design and build, which are currently manufactured in Escobedo, Mexico.

“We appreciate the collaboration we have had with Navistar,” Chadwick said. “As we look to future launches of new truck models, this updated strategy will better position us to help provide our customers with the best products and services for this market. Caterpillar continues to drive the design phase of all models, both current and planned.

Before launching the product, we spent hundreds of hours on the road with customers, asking them to describe the ideal truck. We know what they want and need – from functionality of the truck itself to comfort in the cab. We plan to meet and exceed those expectations as we grow this product offering to fulfill our customers’ needs.”

The transition process will begin immediately, with production expected to begin in the first half of next year. Caterpillar Victoria will continue to produce excavators, and the addition of the vocational truck production is expected to add around 200 new jobs at the facility.

“Caterpillar Victoria is proud to be a part of this opportunity,” commented Ed O’Neil, general manager for Operations for the Excavation Division. “The Victoria facility was selected because of our team’s proven record of building high-quality Cat® products, our commitment to safety, our successful implementation of the Caterpillar Production System and Lean manufacturing. In addition, support from the community and its excellent skilled workforce, as well as the proximity to suppliers, also contributed to the sourcing decision.”

Caterpillar dealers will continue to sell and support Cat vocational trucks.

Vocational Trucks Brief Specs

CT681 CT660 CT680
Engine Cat® CT13 Engine Cat® CT13 Engine Cat® CT13 Engine
Horsepower @ 1700 rpm 365 – 430 hp 365 – 475 hp 410-475 hp
Engine Type Diesel, 4-Cycle Diesel, 4-Cycle Diesel, 4-Cycle
Configuration Inline 6-Cylinder Inline 6-Cylinder Inline 6-Cylinder
Displacement 758.0 in3 758.0 in3 758.0 in3
Aspiration Turbo/Intercooler/Aftercooler Turbo/Intercooler/Aftercooler Turbo/Intercooler/Aftercooler
Peak Torque @ 1000 rpm 1550 lb-ft 1250 – 1700 lb-ft 1700 lb-ft
Transmission Cat CX31® Automatic Transmission Cat CX31® Automatic Transmission Cat® CX31 Automatic Transmission
Speeds 6 forward/1 reverse 6 forward/1 reverse 6 forward/1 reverse
Maximum Input Speed: 2500 rpm 2500 rpm 2500 rpm
Power Take-Off 2 side & Hi out put rear 2 side & Hi out put rear 2 side & Hi out put rear

Cat CT680    

A natural extension of the Cat® product line, the Cat CT680 Vocational Truck delivers all the power, performance and productivity you expect from Caterpillar. This Class 8 set-forward axle model—ideal for hauling heavy loads—features a spacious and ergonomic cab, industrial styling, vocational-specific engine and transmission options, and bumper-to-bumper support across North America.

image id 2021300006

image id 2021300006

The CT680’s set-forward axle, rugged design and industrial styling make it ideal for hauling heavy loads or working in extreme conditions. Aluminum alloy cab construction reduces overall weight and extends cab life.

The CT680’s wide, spacious cab is filled with ergonomic details to reduce fatigue and thoughtful features to enhance driver comfort, all shift long.

Cat’s ergonomically designed dashboard and center stack layout give drivers complete command and control. All controls, levers, switches and gauges are positioned to maximize safety and minimize fatigue, so drivers can stay focused on the job at hand.

The CT680’s tuned cab air suspension system, premium grade sound insulation kit, and durable routing and clipping wire system dramatically reduce vibration and cab noise.

Under the hood, the CT680 is powered by a Cat CT Series Vocational Truck Engine with ratings specific to vocational truck applications and a horsepower/torque combination to tackle the toughest jobs.

Performance-matched with your engine to deliver rugged durability, smooth shifting and optimum power, the Cat CX31 Automatic Transmission will help you maximize your CT680’s uptime, fuel economy and productivity. (Other transmission options are available.)

For more information: http://www.cat.com/en_US/products/new/equipment/on-highway-trucks/on-highway-trucks/1000004244.html

 Cat CT681

A natural extension of the Cat® product line, the Cat CT681 Vocational Truck delivers all the power, performance and productivity you expect from Caterpillar. This Class 8 set-forward axle model—ideal for hauling heavy loads—features a spacious and ergonomic cab, industrial styling, vocational-specific engine and transmission options, and bumper-to-bumper support across North America.

Cat CT681 On Highway Truck - C10128995The CT681’s set-forward axle, rugged design and industrial styling make it ideal for hauling heavy loads or working in extreme conditions. Aluminum alloy cab construction reduces overall weight for maximum payloads.

Cat’s integral Front Frame Extension (FFE) option makes it easy to mount attachments like snow plows, hose reels, winches and hydraulic pumps. Mixer installation is simple thanks to vertical tie-in plates mounted behind the cab.

The CT681’s wide, spacious cab is filled with ergonomic details to reduce fatigue and thoughtful features to enhance driver comfort, all shift long.

The CT681’s ergonomically designed dashboard and center stack layout give drivers complete command and control. All controls, levers, switches and gauges are positioned to maximize safety and minimize fatigue, so drivers can stay focused on the job at hand.

Cat’s tuned cab air suspension system, premium grade sound insulation kit, and durable routing and clipping wire system dramatically reduce vibration and cab noise.

Under the hood, the CT681 is powered by a Cat CT Series Vocational Truck Engine with ratings specific to vocational truck applications and a horsepower/torque combination to tackle the toughest jobs.

Performance-matched with your engine to deliver rugged durability, smooth shifting and optimum power, the Cat CX31 Automatic Transmission will help you maximize your CT681’s uptime, fuel economy and productivity. (Other transmission options are available.)

Fore more information:

http://www.cat.com/en_US/products/new/equipment/on-highway-trucks/on-highway-trucks/18581765.html

Wells Fargo Reports: Private Sector Compensation Costs Slow Sharply in Q2

Wells_Fargo_Securities_logoCompensation costs slowed markedly in Q2, increasing just 0.2 percent. Weakness appears concentrated among incentive paid workers, but still may raise doubts among the FOMC as to the strength of wage growth.

Better than the Headline Indicates but Still Not Great

Employment costs rose far short of expectations in Q2, increasing just 0.2 percent. The closely watched wages & salaries component rose by the smallest amount since 1982, up only 0.2 percent. The slowdown was concentrated among sales occupations, which are more likely to receive incentive compensation. Ex-incentive paid workers, wage growth continues to show a modest upward trend.

Trend in Wage Growth Remains Disappointing

Compensation costs for government workers picked up in Q2, driven by both wages and benefits. In contrast, private sector benefits fell for the second time since the series began in 2001.

The slowdown in ECI wage growth, along with no clear pickup in the average hourly earnings series of the payroll report may lead the FOMC to reevaluate how much slack remains in the labor market and how fast inflation will return to target.

Private Sector Compensation Costs Slow Sharply in Q2 Private Sector Compensation Costs Slow Sharply in Q2 Private Sector Compensation Costs Slow Sharply in Q2 Private Sector Compensation Costs Slow Sharply in Q2

ABC Reports: Nonresidential Fixed Investment Falls in Second Quarter

CEU2“In the first half of 2015, both the broader economy and nonresidential investment lost the momentum they had coming into the year.” ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu.

GDP_Q2_2015Nonresidential fixed investment fell by 0.6 percent during the second quarter after expanding by 1.6 percent during the first quarter, according to the July 30 real gross domestic product (GDP) report by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). For the economy as a whole, real GDP expanded by 2.3 percent (seasonally adjusted annual rate) during the second quarter following a 0.6 percent increase during the year’s first quarter. Note that the first quarter estimate for nonresidential fixed investment was revised upward from -3.4 percent annualized growth.

“In the first half of 2015, both the broader economy and nonresidential investment lost the momentum they had coming into the year,” said Associated Builders and Contractors Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “Rather than indicating renewed progress in terms of achieving a more robust recovery, today’s GDP release indicates that a variety of factors helped to stall investment in nonresidential structures. There are many viable explanations, including a weaker overall U.S. economy, a stronger U.S. dollar, decreased investment in structures related to the nation’s energy sector, soft public spending, and uncertainty regarding monetary policy and other abstracts of public policy. While the expectation is that the second half of the year will be better, unfortunately not much momentum is being delivered by the year’s initial six months.

“Perhaps the most salient facet of this GDP release was the revisions,” said Basu. “The BEA revised the first quarter estimate upward from -0.2 percent to 0.6 percent annualized growth. This is not surprising; many economists insisted that the economy did not shrink in the first quarter. However, the BEA also downwardly revised growth figures from the fourth quarter of 2011 to the fourth quarter of 2014. Over that period, GDP increased at an average annual rate of 2.1 percent, 0.3 percentage points lower than previously thought. These revisions could be a function of the agency’s ongoing effort to tackle residual seasonality, a pattern in which seasonal adjustments led to repeated first quarter slowdowns. It will take a few more quarters to understand the full impact of the improved seasonal adjustments.”

Performance of key segments during the first quarter:

  • Investment in nonresidential structures decreased at a 1.6 percent rate after decreasing at a 7.4 percent rate in the first quarter.
  • Personal consumption expenditures added 1.99 percent to GDP after contributing 1.19 percent in the first quarter.
  • Spending on goods grew 1.1 percent from the first quarter.
  • Real final sales of domestically produced output – minus changes in private inventories – increased 2.5 percent for the second quarter after a 2.5 percent increase in the first quarter.
  • Federal government spending decreased 1.1 percent in the second quarter after increasing by 1.1 percent in the first quarter.
  • Nondefense spending decreased 0.5 percent after expanding by 1.2 percent in the previous quarter.
  • National defense spending fell 1.5 percent after growing 1 percent in the first quarter.
  • State and local government spending grew 2 percent during the second quarter after a decrease of 0.8 percent in the first.

To view the previous GDP report, click here .

ABC Reports: June Construction Unemployment Rates Improve in 45 States from 2014

NR

Analysis by Bernard Markstein

Construction employment stalled nationally on a seasonally adjusted (SA) basis in June. However, as expected, not seasonally adjusted (NSA) employment increased from May. The result was that 38 states experienced a decline in their estimated NSA construction unemployment rate.

Construction activity and employment continues to improve from a year ago. Thus, on a year-over-year basis, the NSA construction unemployment rates for the country and 45 states were down in June.

For the first half of the year, SA construction jobs rose 105,000, while the industry added 262,000 jobs from June 2014 to June 2015 on an NSA basis.

The Census Bureau reported on July 1 that total SA nominal (current) dollar construction spending increased 0.8 percent in May. Nonresidential construction spending, which struggled in 2014, has advanced for four consecutive months. Total construction spending increased for six months straight.

The Top Five States

The five states with the lowest construction unemployment rates were:

  1. South Dakota*
  2. Nebraska*
  3. North Dakota
  4. Idaho and Montana (tie)

* Unemployment Rate for Construction and Mining

All of the top five states are in the same geographic region, although the Census Bureau places Idaho and Montana in a different census division (West North Central for Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota; Mountain for Idaho and Montana). Wyoming, which would fit in neatly with this group (part of the Mountain census division), was just out of the top five at number six (up from number eight in May).

Four of the top five states were also among the top five in May with a somewhat different order. South Dakota moved into the number one spot from being tied for second with North Dakota in May. Nebraska slipped into the second position from the first in May.

North Dakota fell to third place with the decline in its position, undoubtedly largely due to the slump in oil prices and the resulting slowdown in exploration and drilling new wells. Nonetheless, both the construction unemployment rate and the overall state unemployment rate are at a low level that other states would envy.

Fourth place was a tie between Idaho and Montana. For Idaho, June’s ranking was an improvement from its number seven position in May. Montana moved up from fifth place in May based on revised data (it had previously been in fourth place). Maryland, with a construction and mining unemployment rate,  took over Montana’s fourth place in May based on revised data (originally reported as number five) but fell to tenth place in June in a tie with Utah, which also held tenth place in May.

The Bottom Five States

The five states with the highest construction unemployment rates (from lowest to highest) were:

  1. New Mexico
  2. Rhode Island
  3. Georgia and West Virginia (tie)
  4. Mississippi

Three of the states with the five highest construction unemployment rates in May were among the five highest in June: Georgia, Mississippi and Rhode Island. For the second month in a row, Mississippi had the highest rate in the nation. On the positive side, the estimated construction unemployment rate for all 50 states fell below 10 percent for the first time since October 2014.

Georgia and West Virginia were tied for second highest in June. Georgia also had the second highest rate in May based on revised data (originally reported as third highest). West Virginia moved from tied with Connecticut and Missouri for eleventh highest in May to its tie with Georgia for second highest rate in June. West Virginia was one of five states with a year-over-year increase in their estimated construction unemployment rates and one of 12 states with an increase from their May rate. Among those 12 states, West Virginia along with New Hampshire had the largest monthly increase—1.6 percent.

Rhode Island moved from fifth highest in May based on revised data (originally reported as sixth highest) to fourth highest in June. New Mexico took Rhode Island’s fifth place position in June moving down from 17th highest in May.

New Jersey and South Carolina, which tied for third highest in May based on revised data, were sixth and seventh highest, respectively, in June. Alabama and California tied with South Carolina for seventh highest in June. In May, California’s construction unemployment rate was also seventh highest, while Alabama’s rate was sixth highest based on revised data (originally reported as fifth highest).

State_RankingRead more on ABC’s website.

Background

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) launched its state-by-state economic analysis earlier this year with the release of economist Bernard M. Markstein’s analysis of construction’s contribution to each state’s gross domestic product (GDP). ABC will be releasing Markstein’s next analysis of GDP data August 11, 2015

Unique to ABC, Markstein’s state-level construction unemployment estimate and analysis of state-level construction job markets for June is below. This analysis is produced monthy in addition to ABC’s existing national economic data and analysis. Background on how the data was derived and Markstein’s methodology is available on ABC’s website. 

Statement from Transportation Construction Coalition Co-chairs

ee0d071a-4431-491a-ae5f-0d9154114faeStatement Relating to Senate

Passage of the DRIVE Act

The following is a statement from Transportation Construction Coalition Co-chairs Pete Ruane, president & CEO of the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, and Stephen Sandherr, chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America regarding the Senate’s approval of a multi-year highway/transit bill:

“On behalf of the 31 national associations and construction trade unions of the Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC), we applaud the Senate for passage of a multi-year surface transportation bill that would guarantee real growth in federal highway and public transportation investment over the next three years.  The Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy (DRIVE) Act would also assist state long-term transportation planning by distributing six years of contract authority.

“Senate Majority Leader McConnell, Environment & Public Works (EPW) Committee Chairman Inhofe and EPW Committee Ranking Member Boxer demonstrated exemplary leadership in finding the common ground necessary to earn overwhelming bipartisan support for the longest duration surface transportation bill approved by either chamber since 2005.  Furthermore, they accomplished this feat before the current short-term extension of the highway and transit programs expires.

“Today’s Senate vote on the DRIVE Act and the expected enactment of a three-month extension of the surface transportation programs by July 31 should bring to a close once and for all claims that Congress needs “more time” to develop a long-term reauthorization bill and Highway Trust Fund solution.  For more than a year members of both parties and chambers have used this rationalization for kicking the reauthorization can down the road.  The time for any further short-term extensions is over.

“We appreciate House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster’s recent statement reiterating his commitment to producing a multi-year surface transportation bill soon.  Achieving this goal, however, will require House Republican leaders and the Ways & Means Committee to develop a bipartisan plan to generate the resources necessary to grow highway and public transportation investment.  This must be a priority focus over the next six weeks.

“Members of the TCC will spend the August recess making sure all House members hear from their constituents about the need for the House to pass a meaningful, long-term surface transportation bill in September to ensure a final measure can be enacted before the latest short-term extension expires.”