Tag Archive for 'bridges'
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The U.S. construction industry lost 6,000 net jobs in August according to an analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data released today by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). BLS also downwardly revised July’s estimate from 14,000 net new jobs to 11,000 net new jobs meaning that the construction industry has lost 25,000 net jobs since April after adding 68,000 through the first three months of 2016.
The nonresidential sector lost 10,700 net jobs in August after adding 9,600 jobs in July (revised down from 11,500). Employment in the heavy and civil engineering sector fell for the fourth time in five months, declining by 6,500 jobs on net, an indication of still weak infrastructure investment. The construction industry’s unemployment rate rose to 5.1 percent in August, but is still 3.4 percentage points lower than it was at the beginning of 2016.
“Today’s downbeat employment data came less than twenty-four hours after yesterday’s relatively upbeat nonresidential construction spending report,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “This pattern of good news followed by bad news is nothing new and continues to paint a confusing picture for nonresidential construction activity in the U.S.
“Most contractors continue to report decent backlog and although profitability remains a challenge, margins are thicker than they were several years ago,” said Basu. “Construction firms continue to complain about a lack of appropriately trained workers and construction wage costs are rising. These are all signs of an industry that remains busy.
“However, the data are also consistent with the notion that the pace of expansion in nonresidential construction activity has slowed,” warned Basu. “Nonresidential construction spending has expanded by less than 2 percent over the past year. The biggest culprit continues to be a lack of public sector capital spending on infrastructure, whether in the form of roads or water systems. Survey data regarding commercial real estate lending standards indicate that lending standards are beginning to tighten. While spending in office, lodging, and commercial categories has expanded significantly over the past year, the pace of growth is beginning to be constrained by a combination of regulatory pressures and growing concerns regarding overbuilding in certain key communities and product segments.
“The other consideration is that job growth remains rapid in a number of other key economic segments, including in e-commerce/distribution, retail, and a host of services,” said Basu. “This may be tempting some construction workers away from the industry, helping to explain continued low industry unemployment despite the job losses experienced in recent months.”
The national unemployment rate remained unchanged for a third consecutive month and stands at 4.9 percent. The labor force expanded by 176,000 persons in August and has grown by roughly one million persons over the past three months. Labor force participation stands at 62.8 percent.
A new analysis of eight states that passed legislation to increase their state motor fuel taxes in 2015 to pay for important new transportation improvements shows that 98 percent of Republican and Democratic lawmakers who supported the bill won their primary races in 2016.
“These results should dispel any notion that voting to increase the state gas tax is politically toxic,” says American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) Chief Economist Dr. Alison Premo Black, who conducted the research. “Voters expect lawmakers to put forward solutions to help reduce traffic congestion, improve road safety and help grow the economy. They are also willing to pay for these expanded investments.”
According to the ARTBA Transportation Investment Advocacy Center™ (TIAC) analysis, eight states—Iowa, South Dakota, Utah, Idaho, Georgia, Nebraska, Washington, and Michigan—approved a gas tax increase or its equivalent in 2015. Six of these states had a Republican governor and Republican majority legislature at the time the legislation was passed.
For most state lawmakers who voted on a motor fuel tax measure last year, 2016 is the first time they are facing re-election. In the eight states, 231 Democratic state legislators voted in favor of increasing state motor fuel taxes (66 percent of all Democrats in office at the time of the vote). In the 2016 primaries, 125 of these Democrats were up for re-election, with 122 winning their primary race. Just three Democrats who supported a gas tax increase and were up for re-election lost their seat in the primaries. One hundred and thirteen Democratic lawmakers voted against a gas tax increase in 2015, with 39 of those legislators up for re-election in 2016, and one losing their seat in their primary race.
In 2015, 440 Republican state legislators supported successful legislation to increase state gas taxes (65 percent of all Republicans in office at the time of the vote). In the 2016 primaries, 293 of these Republicans ran for re-election, with 287 winning, and only six losing their seat.
The ARTBA-TIAC analysis is available at www.transportationinvestment.org.
Established in 2014, TIAC is a first-of-its kind, dynamic education program and Internet-based information resource designed to help private citizens, legislators, organizations and businesses successfully grow transportation investment at the state and local levels through the legislative and ballot initiative processes.
By: Greg Sitek
Days are flying by at a record-breaking pace as the presidential candidates race to the finish line in what, in my opinion, is the most vicious campaign since I was first eligible to vote. No, it wasn’t Lincoln vs. Douglas.
There are almost as many issues as there are dollars in our national debt. Among them is our infrastructure. A failing infrastructure is not conducive to growing a strong economy. Both parties recognize this face and have addressed it in campaign rhetoric.
With 90 days left before Election Day, a national poll released recently by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) found that half of registered voters say the nation’s infrastructure has gotten worse over the last five years, and a majority of voters said roads and bridges are in “extreme” need of repair.
The findings were part of a new national poll commissioned by AEM to gauge voter perceptions and attitudes about the current and future state of U.S. infrastructure amid a high-profile election. The poll found that registered voters, regardless of political affiliation, recognize the declining state of the nation’s infrastructure as an issue that should be addressed and believe that the federal government should do more to improve infrastructure across the board.
“Americans across the political spectrum understand the dire state of U.S. infrastructure and believe that the federal government should do more to improve our infrastructure,” said Dennis Slater, president of AEM. “Voters recognized that increased federal funding for assets such as roads, bridges, and inland waterways will have a positive impact on the economy, and they are looking to the federal government to repair and modernize.”
The national poll identified a number of key findings, including:
• Nearly half (46 percent) of registered voters believe that the state of the nation’s infrastructure has gotten worse in the last five years.
• A significant majority (80 – 90 percent) of registered voters say that roads, bridges and energy grids are in some or extreme need of repairs.
• Half (49 percent) of the surveyed population feel that the federal government is primarily responsible for funding repairs to the nation’s infrastructure.
• Seven out of every 10 registered voters say increasing federal funding for infrastructure will have a positive impact on the economy.
• More than eight out of every ten Americans consider water infrastructure (86 percent), solar powered homes (83 percent) and smart infrastructure (82 percent) as the top three important innovations for the future of infrastructure.
• Voters across the political spectrum think that the federal government should do more to improve the nation’s overall infrastructure, with 68 percent of Republicans, 70 percent of Independents and 76 percent of Democrats sharing this sentiment.
Registered voters also feel that government across the board should be doing more to improve the nation’s overall infrastructure, with 76 percent of individuals surveyed wanting more from state governments, 72 percent looking to the federal government to do more and 70 percent expecting more from local governments.
“Both presidential nominees have voiced their strong support for infrastructure investment,” says Ron DeFeo, CEO of Kennametal and chairman of AEM’s Infrastructure Vision 2050 initiative. “The specific ideas and proposals they offer over the next 90 days will be critically important, and voters should consider them carefully on Election Day.”
Currently, there are 4.12 million miles of road in the United States, according to the Federal Highway Administration, including Alaska and Hawaii. The core of the nation’s highway system is the 47,575 miles of Interstate Highways, which comprise just over 1 percent of highway mileage but carry one-quarter of all highway traffic. The Interstates plus another 179,650 miles of major roads comprise the National Highway System, which carries most of the highway freight and traffic in the U.S. Most of the roads in the U.S., 2.94 million miles, are located in rural areas, with the remaining 1.18 million miles located in urban areas. Local governments are responsible for maintaining and improving 3.18 million miles of road or 77.3 percent of the total. State highway agencies are responsible for over 780 thousand miles of road, or 19.0 percent. The federal government is responsible for only 150 thousand miles of road or 3.7 percent, largely roads in national parks, military bases and Indian reservations. Of the 4.07 million miles of road, about 2.68 million miles are paved, which includes most roads in urban areas. However, 1.39 million miles or more than one-third of all road miles in the U.S. are still unpaved gravel or dirt roads. These are largely local roads or minor collectors in rural areas of the country. (Source: Highway Statistics 2013 Table HM-20, HM-10, HM-12, HM-15, VM-202)
You don’t like the way things are going?
Do something about it!
Just because you vote don’t think your job is done. Keep track of your representatives in local, state and federal government.
Remember they work for you. You pay their salaries and benefits, and they are well paid. Make them accountable and communicate with them regularly. It is your country.
Additional information is available at: The Atlantic – Donald Trump’s Big-Spending Infrastructure Dream
The Hill – Poll: Dems, GOP agree infrastructure worsening
AEM – www.aem.org
Site-K Construction Zone http://www.site-kconstructionzone.com/?p=12782