Tag Archive for 'Associated Builders and Contractors'

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Life is full of frustrations…

Remus  and Mill my best friends, both victims of lymphoma earlier this year.

Remus and Mill my best friends, both victims of lymphoma earlier this year.

By Greg Sitek

One of my frustrations is that the two proposed highways bills – House Bill and Senate Bill – are currently in the congressional blender, committee review where the differences will be discussed argued and resolved with a compromise.

While there are several variances between the House-passed STRR (Surface Transportation Reauthorization & Reform) Act and the Senate approved DRIVE (Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy) Act, lawmakers in both chambers and from both sides of the aisle are confident agreement will be reached, hopefully, in short order. The most difficult issue is the final bill’s duration and investment amounts. Some conferees are advocating for a longer authorization at current funding levels and others are urging a program size increase for a shorter time period.

Senate and House leadership are committed to disposing with final highway bill action before turning attention to the omnibus appropriations bill. Government funding expires on Dec. 1. However, with the highway program’s current authorization expiring on Nov. 20, Congress is poised to approve another short-term extension until Dec. 4.

By the time you read this a bill will be passed – Maybe.

Transportation for America says:
15 months after MAP-21 was first extended in July 2014 and four short-term extensions and $18.9 billion in general fund transfers later, a select group of House and Senate leaders met y to begin ironing out the differences between each chamber’s bill in the hopes of passing a final version within the next few weeks. So where does each bill stand on key issues?

Both House and Senate bills largely represent three (or possibly six) more years of the status quo, doubling down on today’s outdated system for investing in transportation that shortchanges innovation and leaves local communities behind.

They’re willing to back that bet with as much as $85 billion of general taxpayer funds above and beyond the expected revenues from the gas tax.

We’ve put together a handy chart comparing the two bills on 11 key provisions or priorities like funding, greater local control, transit, TIGER, multimodal freight planning and funding, and others. Though there are a handful of policy improvements, some other areas take a clear step backwards from MAP-21.

Unfortunately, there’s little chance to further improve the final bill on most of our key priorities at this point, but we are keeping a close eye on discussions in the conference committee. Stay tuned with us on Facebook or Twitter for more updates as the negotiations continue.

Well, I was hoping to wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Highway Bill Year but that’s not to be. You’ll have to settle for a simple Merry Christmas and Happy New year to you and your families and friends.

Meanwhile to keep pace with things happening in the industry and to the highway bill, visit: www.site-Kconkstructionzone.com or scan (insert Site-K QR code) with your smart phone.

ABC Reports: Construction’s Percentage Job Gains Lead All Economic Sectors in Oct

CEU2“Specialty trade contractors created more than 21,000 jobs in October, leading to 0.7 percent growth for nonresidential construction employment on a monthly basis.”—ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu.


Employment_11.6.15The U.S. construction industry added more jobs in October than during the previous four months combined, according to an analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data released today by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). Construction employment expanded by 31,000 net new jobs last month after adding 12,000 jobs in September (revised upward from 8,000). Nonresidential construction employment increased by 20,100 jobs in October after adding 11,100 jobs in September (revised upward from 6,800).

“Over the past year, nonresidential construction employment has expanded by 113,100 jobs, or 3.9 percent, which is particularly impressive given the ongoing difficulties many contractors experience filling available job openings,” said Anirban Basu, ABC’s chief economist. “Despite the overall robust nonresidential employment gains, the nonresidential building sector actually lost 1,000 jobs in October, due in large measure to the impact of a slumping energy sector. However, specialty trade contractors created more than 21,000 jobs in October, leading to 0.7 percent growth for nonresidential construction employment on a monthly basis.

“The overall economy added 271,000 net new jobs in October, far above the consensus estimate of around 175,000,” said Basu. “The three-month average gain stands at 187,000 net new jobs. The nation’s unemployment rate is down to 5 percent, and the so-called real rate of unemployment stands at 9.8 percent, a multi-year low. Wages are up 2.5 percent on a year-over-year basis, the fastest pace of wage growth since 2009. All of this suggests that the chances for a Federal Reserve rate hike in December have expanded massively with today’s release.”

The residential construction sector added 6,000 jobs in October after adding 6,100 during the prior month, while employment in the civil and heavy engineering increased by 4,800 jobs. Overall construction employment increased by 0.48 percent for the month, more than any other industry. Employment growth in the professional/business services sector was second at 0.39 percent. The construction industry’s unemployment rate actually rose by 0.7 percentage points to 6.2 percent in October. This is very good news because it indicates that more people are again looking to construction as a source of gainful employment.

Construction employment for the month and the past year breaks down as follows:

  • Nonresidential building construction employment fell by 1,000 jobs in October but is up by 14,500 jobs or 2.1 percent on a yearly basis.
  • Residential building construction employment expanded by 2,400 jobs in October and is up by 25,100 jobs or 3.7 percent on a year-over-year basis.
  • Nonresidential specialty trade contractors added 21,100 jobs for the month and employment in that category is up by 98,600 jobs or 4.5 percent from the same time one year ago.
  • Residential specialty trade contractors added 3,600 net new jobs in October and have added 74,000 jobs or 4.4 percent since October 2014.
  • The heavy and civil engineering construction segment added 4,800 jobs in October and is up by 20,700 positions or 2.2 percent on a year-over-year basis.

To view the previous employment report, click here.

ABC Celebrates Careers in Construction Month

1291931420843794287$1.1 Billion Invested in Workforce Development Annually

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) is celebrating Careers in Construction Month this October by recognizing the investment its members and chapters make each year to attract and train the construction workers of the future. ABC member firms spend $1.1 billion on workforce development and train approximately 476,000 construction industry professionals annually.

“The construction industry continues to offer excellent career opportunities for millions of Americans, and we are very proud of the investment our members make in developing the workforce of the future,” said ABC Vice President of Environment, Health, Safety and Workforce Development Greg Sizemore. “Our industry has a well-documented shortage of skilled workers despite well-paying jobs, rising wages and entrepreneurial opportunity, and that’s a message our chapters, members and training partners are delivering to high schoolers, college students, adults whose jobs were lost to the recession and anyone else looking to make a smart career move.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that we will need 1.6 million new construction workers by 2022 due to growth in the industry combined with an aging workforce. Already more than four in five ABC members say they are facing a shortage of skilled labor.

“Construction is among the few industries someone can enter as an apprentice, get paid to learn career skills on the job, and then work their way up to owning their own business,” said Sizemore. “In fact, the opportunity to continue to grow within the industry was one of the biggest reasons a survey conducted earlier this year found construction professionals were happier than employees in any other industry. Careers in Construction Month is a great time to tell this story and highlight our members’ impressive investment in training.”

ABC is working to address the worker shortage through more than 800 apprenticeship, craft training and safety training programs set up by its chapters around the country. The Trimmer Construction Education Foundation, ABC’s nonprofit charitable organization, provides funding for the direct support of training programs and the expansion of training facilities around the country.

The association has also signed on to an industry pledge to hire 100,000 veterans—who already comprise 23 percent of the trade/craft workers employed by ABC members—in the construction workforce over the next five years, and it promotes the value of diversity and inclusion in the construction and subcontractor/supplier workforce. Additionally, ABC administers numerous competitions, awards programs and student outreach initiatives to promote life-long learning and recognize achievement at every level.

People interested in learning more about craft professions and construction management can visit buildyourfuture.org, an industry-supported website devoted to making career and technical education a priority in secondary schools; shifting perceptions about careers in the construction industry to reflect the wide range of professions available and providing a path from ambition to training to job placement in the construction industry.

Construction Material Prices Plunge in September

CEU2” Demand for global commodities has weakened even as supply of many inputs continues to be elevated.” —ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu

PPI_Sep15Prices for inputs to construction industries plunged 1.6 percent in September after shedding 0.9 percent in August, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Year-over-year prices were down 5.3 percent for the month, the largest yearly decrease since October of 2009. Inputs to nonresidential construction prices also declined, losing 1.6 percent for the month and 6 percent for the year. Only three of the 11 key input prices expanded on a monthly basis in September, while six experienced double-digit year-over-year declines, according to analysis by Associated Builders and Contractors.

“The global economy has continued to soften in recent weeks, with additional concerns directed at formerly fast-growing nations like China, Brazil and Russia,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “Europe continues to muddle along and the Canadian economy remains relatively flat. All of this has conspired to weaken demand for global commodities even as supply of many inputs continues to be elevated.

“For much of September, there was a belief among some that the Federal Reserve would raise short-term interest rates during that month,” said Basu. “That belief helped keep the dollar strong, which also helped to keep commodity prices low. When the Fed made the decision not to raise rates, the dollar weakened a bit, allowing oil prices to edge higher. The implication is that October PPI is unlikely to be as deflationary as September.”

Only three key input prices rose in September:

  • Plumbing fixtures and fittings expanded 0.1 percent from August and are up 1.1 percent from September 2014.
  • Prices for concrete products expanded 0.7 percent in September and are up 3 percent from the same time last year.
  • Crude petroleum prices expanded 2.3 percent in September but are down 54.3 percent from the same time last year.

The key input prices that fell or remained flat are:

  • Crude energy materials prices dipped 1 percent in September and are down 39.9 percent from the same time last year.
  • Fabricated structural metal product prices fell 0.l percent for the month and are down 0.6 percent on the year.
  • Iron and steel prices fell 1.1 percent for the month and 18.8 percent for the year.
  • Prices for steel mill products fell 0.8 percent from last month and 14.9 percent from last year.
  • Nonferrous wire and cable prices are down 0.8 percent in September and 7.8 percent from the same time last year.
  • Softwood lumber prices fell 3.8 percent on a monthly basis and 12.2 percent on a yearly basis.
  • Prepared asphalt, tar roofing and siding declined 1.9 percent for the month but expanded 2.5 percent from the same time last year.
  • Natural gas prices fell 7.5 percent on a monthly basis and are down 35.8 percent from the same time last year.

To view the previous PPI report, click here.

ABC Reports: Nonresidential Construction Spending Continues to Grow Through Mid-Summer

CEU2“The outlook for nonresidential construction spending remains upbeat, as the positives significantly outweigh the negatives.” —ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu.

Spending91Nonresidential construction spending expanded 0.5 percent in July and is up 12.7 percent on a year-over-year basis, according to a Sept. 1 release by the U.S. Census Bureau. This represents the strongest year-over-year percentage growth in spending since April 2008. On a seasonally adjusted, annualized basis, nonresidential construction spending totaled $696.1 billion in July, which is the best reading since March 2009. Additionally, June’s estimate was upwardly revised 0.9 percent from $686.9 billion to $692.8 billion.

“A number of forces are at work and are conspiring to help push nonresidential construction spending higher,” said Associated Builders and Contractors Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “Perhaps most importantly, job growth remains robust, helping to drive down office and other vacancy rates, prompting more construction starts. Recreational and business travel spending has been trending higher, helping to support construction in the lodging and amusement categories on a year-over-year basis. A rebounding U.S. auto sector and expanding aerospace industry have also helped to fuel spending. State and local government capital outlays also appear to be recovering and were surprisingly strong during this year’s second quarter. In addition, materials prices have been in general decline, which has helped justify moving forward with construction projects.

“Among the factors suppressing spending growth is an ongoing lack of coherent federal policy regarding the nation’s infrastructure shortfalls and a weak global economy that has limited export growth,” said Basu. “Falling and volatile energy prices also have been making their mark, reducing investment in the category that had most helped support private nonresidential construction during the early years of spending recovery.

“For now, the outlook for nonresidential construction spending remains upbeat, as the positives significantly outweigh the negatives,” said Basu. “Trends in aggregate spending tend to lag the broader economy by roughly a year and the second quarter gross domestic product growth estimate of 3.7 percent is consistent with the notion that the broader economic recovery remains an ongoing one.”

Seven of 16 nonresidential construction sectors experienced spending increases in July on a monthly basis:

  • Power-related construction spending grew 2.8 percent for the month, but has declined 11.9 percent on a year-over-year basis.
  • Manufacturing-related construction spending grew 4.8 percent in June and is up an astonishing 62.1 percent for the year.
  • Office-related construction spending expanded 1.2 percent in July and is up 26.1 percent from the same period one year ago.
  • Conservation and development-related construction spending expanded 11.2 percent for the month and is up 15.7 percent on a yearly basis.
  • Religious spending grew 5.7 percent for the month and is up 7.3 percent from the same time last year.
  • Communication-related construction spending inched 0.1 percent higher for the month and is up 14.2 percent for the year.
  • Sewage and waste disposal-related construction spending grew 1.6 percent for the month and has expanded 11.3 percent on a 12-month basis.

Spending in nine nonresidential construction subsectors fell in July on a monthly basis:

  • Education-related construction spending fell 2.2 percent for the month, but is up 3.6 percent on a year-over-year basis.
  • Commercial construction spending fell 1.5 percent in July, but is up 5.5 percent on a year-over-year basis.
  • Health care-related construction spending fell 0.5 percent for the month, but is up 6.4 percent for the year.
  • Lodging-related construction spending fell 0.7 percent on a monthly basis, but is up 40.3 percent on a year-over-year basis.
  • Spending in the water supply category fell 4.8 percent from June, but is up 4.3 percent on an annual basis.
  • Highway and street-related construction spending dipped 0.2 percent lower in July, but is up 9.7 percent compared to the same time last year.
  • Amusement and recreation-related construction spending fell 5.3 percent on a monthly basis, but is up 34.3 percent from the same time last year.
  • Construction spending in the transportation category fell 0.2 percent on a monthly basis, but has expanded 7.9 percent on an annual basis.
  • Public safety-related construction spending fell 2.8 percent on a monthly basis and is down 4.9 percent on a year-over-year basis.

To view the previous spending report, click here.