Tag Archive for 'ABC'

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ABC Comments: President Trump’s Apprenticeship Expansion Helps All Americans Build America

Associated Builders and Contractors applauded President Donald J. Trump on today’s executive action on apprenticeships, which is an important step toward building new career opportunities for all Americans.

If fully implemented, the order will allow industries to build innovative workforce development systems that address glaring skills gaps in our workforce.  With the construction industry currently facing a workforce shortage of as many as 500,000 jobs, this order is an important first step to allow more entryways into becoming a construction professional.

“Associated Builders and Contractors looks forward to working with the secretaries of labor, commerce and education to implement the executive order and develop new, innovative and effective models to train an expanding American workforce,” said ABC President and CEO Mike Bellaman.  “With our industry in need of half a million workers today and even more in the future, we need to expand upon current apprenticeship methods that have left us with a worker shortage and embrace an all-of-the-above training approach to meet the needs of a 21st century workforce. ”

ABC and its 70 chapters are doing their part to train construction professionals using state-of-the-art and flexible learning models like “earn while you learn,” just-in-time task training, competency-based progression, work-based learning and government-registered apprenticeships to build a safe, skilled and productive workforce.

In addition to an annual investment of $1.1 billion dollars into work-based training by ABC member companies, ABC local chapters and affiliated training centers offer more than 800 apprenticeship, craft, safety and management training programs around the country, including Department of Labor-approved apprenticeship programs.  In partnership with the industry-recognized curriculum and credentials developed by NCCER, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) education foundation, ABC offers this training at over 1,400 locations across America.

ABC is looking forward to working with President Trump and Secretaries Acosta, Ross and DeVos to craft industry programs that expand the U.S. Department of Labor’s definition of registered apprenticeship and offer all Americans the opportunity to achieve their dreams and build a fulfilling career.

Learn more about how ABC is building the people who build America at workforce.abc.org.

ABC Reports: Construction Input Prices Flat, but Crude Petroleum Prices Plummet in May

Construction input prices remained unchanged in May, ending five consecutive months of price expansion, according to analysis of  Bureau of Labor Statistics data released today by Associated Builders and Contractors.  expanded 3.4 percent on a year-over-year basis.

Nonresidential construction input prices also remained unchanged on a monthly basis but increased by 3.1 percent on a yearly basis. Only crude petroleum prices experienced a significant month-over-month change in May, with prices falling 19.6 percent from April’s level. Natural gas prices remain significantly higher—up 66 percent—from the same time one year ago.

“Since March 2016, construction input prices have generally been on the rise,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “Many commodity prices established their cyclical nadir during last year’s first quarter, with prices then surging higher for a time. There were a number of factors at work, including stronger growth in parts of Europe and Asia and coordinated efforts by producers to curtail production and support higher prices.

“These factors are no longer strong enough to drive commodity and construction input prices higher,” said Basu. “The U.S. economy in particular does not appear positioned for the rate of growth many had anticipated at the beginning of the year. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development recently revised America’s growth outlook downward from 2.4 percent to 2.1 percent for the current year. Stronger U.S. economic growth has been expected to be a major driver of overall global economic improvement.

“The role of technology and previous investments in productive capacities is just as important,” said Basu. “As shale and other producers become more efficient, the price for certain items will tend to fall absent a countervailing increase in demand. With global economic growth remaining below par, commodity prices are no longer rising. This strongly implies that the trend of rising construction materials prices that was so apparent in 2016 will be less so during the current year.”

According to ABC, Jobs Report Offers Reasons for Hope and Concern for Construction Industry

National construction employment added 11,000 net new jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis in May according to analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data released today by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC).

The nonresidential construction sector added 4,400 net new jobs in May after losing 1,000 net jobs in April (revised down from a net increase of 3,200 jobs), while the residential sector added 7,100 net jobs for the month. Overall construction employment expanded 2.9 percent on yearly basis, well above the year-over-year growth rate of 1.6 percent for all nonfarm industries.

“Today’s jobs numbers supply a mixture of good and bad news,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “Overall nonresidential construction industry employment was up, but much of that was due to the heavy and civil engineering component, which can be associated with volatile employment levels from month-to-month. Nonresidential specialty trade contractors collectively shed employment, which is consistent with the weak construction spending numbers released yesterday. Those statistics indicated ongoing softening in construction spending in both private and public segments.

“More worrisome perhaps are statistics related to labor force participation and the construction industry unemployment rate,” said Basu. “The labor force participation fell to 62.7 percent in May, a multi-month low. There is also evidence that the construction labor market continues to tighten, which implies construction firms will continue to struggle to find workers, particularly at higher skill levels. This means that construction spending growth is decelerating even as labor becomes more expensive. None of this is good from the perspective of profit-margins or aggregate industry profitability.

“The hope is that the observed weakness in spending is brief and largely a result of lingering uncertainty that would be associated with any major political transition,” said Basu. “Financial markets continue to perform brilliantly, implying that investors continue to view economic conditions favorably. With the construction unemployment rate remaining so low one further hopes that more job seekers will be induced to seek employment in the construction trades. Unfortunately, to date that has not happened at sufficient levels. That said, economists remain confident that the next two quarters will be associated with more robust growth, which could help to reinvigorate construction spending momentum.”

The construction industry unemployment rate, which fell 2.1 percentage points last month, declined further in May and now stands at 5.3 percent. The construction industry unemployment rate is only available on a non-seasonally adjusted basis. Due to seasonal factors, the industry unemployment rate almost always plummets from March to April and continues to decline in May. The national unemployment rate inched down from 4.4 percent in April to 4.3 percent in May. The last time the unemployment rate was this low was in May 2001.

According to ABC Construction Unemployment Rates Improve in 22 States

April not seasonally adjusted (NSA) construction unemployment rates were down in 22 states and unchanged in two (Arkansas and California) on a year-over-year basis, according to analysis released today by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). However, the national NSA construction unemployment rate of 6.3 percent was up 0.3 percent from April 2016, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Since these industry-specific rates are not seasonally adjusted, national and state-level unemployment rates are best evaluated on a year-over-year basis.

“Despite the year-over-year increase, this was the third lowest national not seasonally adjusted April construction unemployment rate on record and the second lowest rate since April 2000,” said Bernard M. Markstein, Ph.D., president and chief economist of Markstein Advisors, who conducted the analysis for ABC. “Further evidence of the construction industry’s economic health can be found in the 160,000 more workers employed in the industry compared to April 2016.”

Since the beginning of the data series in January 2000, the monthly movement in the national NSA construction unemployment rate from March to April has always been a decline. This year was no exception with a 2.1 percent rate plunge in the NSA rate from March. All but two states (Georgia and Kansas) posted a decline in their April estimated rate from March.

View states ranked by their construction unemployment rate, their year-over-year change in construction unemployment, their monthly change in construction unemployment, a regional breakdown of states’ construction unemployment rates and their April unemployment rates for all industries

The Top Five States
The states with the lowest estimated NSA construction unemployment rates in order from lowest rate to highest were:
1. North Dakota
2. Nebraska
3. South Dakota
4. Idaho, Indiana and New Hampshire (tied)

Two states—Nebraska and North Dakota—were also among the top five in March.

North Dakota (1.3 percent) had the lowest construction industry rate among the states. This was the state’s lowest April NSA rate since the beginning of the estimates in 2000 and the largest year-over-year drop among the states, down 3.2 percent.

Nebraska (1.6 percent) had the second lowest rate in April, matching 2008 for the state’s lowest estimated April rate on record.

South Dakota (1.9 percent) had the third lowest April rate, matching 2015 for the state’s lowest April rate on record. Additionally, the state’s 2.8 percent year-over-year decline was the second best among the states.

Idaho, Indiana and New Hampshire each posted (2.6 percent) tied for the fourth lowest rate in April. For all three states this was their respective lowest estimated April rate on record. All three also experienced notable improvements from their March rankings—Idaho up from 12th lowest, Indiana up from 14th lowest and New Hampshire from tied with Florida for 21st lowest.

The Bottom Five States
The states with the highest NSA construction unemployment rates in order from lowest to highest rates were:
46. Pennsylvania
47. Louisiana
48. Illinois
49. New Mexico
50. Alaska

Three of these states—Alaska, New Mexico and Pennsylvania—were also among the five states with the highest construction unemployment rates in March.

Alaska had the highest estimated NSA construction unemployment rate in April (16.8 percent) for the eighth month in a row. Since these are NSA construction unemployment rates, it is often the case from fall through spring that Alaska has among the highest rates in the nation. However, the state posted the largest year-over-year increase (up 5.4 percent) in April.

New Mexico (11.6 percent) had the second highest construction unemployment rate in April, the same ranking as in March.
Illinois (8.8 percent) had the third highest rate in April. However, this was the state’s second lowest April rate (after 8.6 percent in 2015) since April 2006 (6.7 percent).

Louisiana, which had the 11th highest rate in March, had the fourth highest rate in April (8.7 percent).

Pennsylvania had the fifth highest rate in April (8.5 percent), an improvement over its ranking as fourth highest rate in March.

Connecticut and Rhode Island, which in March ranked third and fifth highest, respectively, moved to the middle of the rankings in April, 25th and 24th lowest, respectively. For Connecticut, its 6 percent rate was its lowest April rate since the 4.1 percent in 2001. Rhode Island’s rate (5.9 percent) was its second lowest April rate since 2006. The state also had the third largest year-over-year improvement (down 2.6 percent).

Further, Connecticut had the third largest monthly decline (down 6.2 percent) and Rhode Island had the fourth largest monthly decline (down 6 percent).

To better understand the basis for calculating unemployment rates and what they measure, see the article Background on State Construction Unemployment Rates.

According to ABC Construction Job Growth Led by Nonresidential Sector, But Remains Tepid

National construction employment remained largely unchanged for the second consecutive month, adding 5,000 net new jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis in April, according to analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data released today by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC).

The nonresidential construction sector added 3,200 net new jobs in April after adding 8,500 net jobs in March (revised down from 13,300), while the residential sector added just 900 net jobs for the month. Construction employment expanded 2.6 percent on yearly basis, well above the year-over-year growth rate for all nonfarm industries (+1.6 percent).

“Today’s employment report confirms that the U.S. economic expansion remains firmly in place,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “That said, the simultaneous expansion in job totals and ongoing slow GDP growth indicate that the average net new job is associated with relatively low output. This is consistent with still-soft productivity growth and somewhat sluggish wage growth relative to expectations. Construction has been especially susceptible to weak productivity growth in recent years, in part because skilled workers capable of delivering elevated productivity remain in such short supply. The scarcity of skilled craftspeople helps explain the scant 0.2 percent growth in nonresidential building construction employment over the past year.

“Nonresidential construction added 3,200 net new jobs, however, nonresidential specialty trade contractors shed 5,100 net jobs in April,” said Basu. “It is conceivable that this occurred as certain segments of private development have begun to slow, including key commercial segments. Conversely, the loss in nonresidential specialty construction positions may simply be a one-month statistical anomaly.

“Recent construction spending data indicate that overall nonresidential construction activity is climbing only slowly,” said Basu. “This implies that hiring will remain moderate for the foreseeable future. Naturally, if the administration in Washington, D.C., is able to implement a significant portion of its pro-business agenda, the rate of job growth will eventually accelerate appreciably.”

The construction industry unemployment rate, which is available only on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, fell 2.1 percentage points in April and now stands at 6.3 percent. Due to seasonal factors, the industry unemployment rate almost always plummets from March to April. Since 2009, that decline as averaged 2.3 percentage points. The national unemployment rate inched down from 4.5 percent in March to 4.4 percent in April. This is the lowest nationwide rate since May of 2007.

April 2017 Construction Employment