Tag Archive for 'unemployment'



Roads and bridges that are deteriorated, congested or lack some desirable safety features cost Illinois motorists a total of $18.3 billion statewide annually – as much as $2,559 per driver in some urban areas – due to higher vehicle operating costs, traffic crashes and congestion-related delays. Increased investment in transportation improvements at the local, state and federal levels could relieve traffic congestion, improve road, bridge, and transit conditions, boost safety, and support long-term economic growth in Illinois, according to a new report released by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation research nonprofit.

The TRIP report, Illinois Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility,”finds that throughout Illinois, more than two-fifths of major locally and state-maintained roads are in poor or mediocre condition and eight percent of locally and state-maintained bridges (20 feet or more in length) are rated poor/structurally deficient. The report also finds that Illinois’ major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, causing significant delays and choking commuting and commerce.

Driving on roads in Illinois costs motorists a total of $18.3 billion per year in the form of extra vehicle operating costs (VOC) as a result of driving on roads in need of repair, lost time and fuel due to congestion-related delays, and the costs of traffic crashes in which roadway features likely were a contributing factor. The TRIP report calculates the cost to motorists of insufficient roads in the Chicago, Champaign-Urbana, Metro East, Peoria-Bloomington, Rockford and Springfield urban areas.  A breakdown of the costs per motorist in each area, along with a statewide total, is below.

The TRIP report finds that 19 percent of major locally and state-maintained roads in Illinois are in poor condition and an additional 23 percent are in mediocre condition, costing the state’s drivers an additional $5 billion each year in extra vehicle operating costs, including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

“This report highlights how expensive it can be for Illinois drivers when the state does not maintain its basic infrastructure,” said Illinois Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Maisch. “A stronger transportation system is vital to stronger business and a stronger Illinois. We must act now to improve our economy and quality of life in Illinois through infrastructure investment.”

Eight percent of Illinois’ bridges are rated poor/structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components. The condition of state-maintained bridges in Illinois is anticipated to decline through 2023 based on current funding.  Forty-one percent of Illinois’ locally and state-maintained bridges have been rated in fair condition.  A fair rating indicates that a bridge’s structural elements are sound but minor deterioration has occurred to the bridge’s deck, substructure or superstructure.

“Poorly maintained roads are both a financial burden and safety hazard for Illinois motorists,” said Nick Jarmusz, midwest director of public affairs for AAA – The Auto Club Group.  “The investments necessary to rebuild our infrastructure would cost a fraction of what drivers are currently paying in the form of additional vehicle expenses, to say nothing of the increased risk of crashes and injuries.”

The Illinois Department of Transportation projects that, under current funding levels, the percentage of state-maintained roads and bridges in need of repairs will increase significantly in the next five years.

Traffic congestion throughout Illinois is worsening, causing up to 63 annual hours of delay for the average motorist in the state’s largest urban areas and costing the state’s drivers a total of $8.5 billion annually in lost time and wasted fuel.

Traffic crashes in Illinois claimed the lives of nearly 5,100 people between 2013 and 2017. Illinois’ overall traffic fatality rate of 1.02 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2017 is lower than the national average of 1.16.  The fatality rate on Illinois’ non-interstate rural roads is approximately two-and-a-half times higher than on all other roads in the state (2.09 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.82). The financial impact of traffic crashes costs Illinois drivers a total of $4.8 billion annually.

The efficiency and condition of Illinois’ transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy.  Annually, $2.9 trillion in goods are shipped to and from Illinois, relying heavily on the state’s network of roads and bridges. Increasingly, companies are looking at the quality of a region’s transportation system when deciding where to relocate or expand. Regions with congested or poorly maintained roads may see businesses relocate to areas with a smoother, more efficient and more modern transportation system. The design, construction, and maintenance of transportation infrastructure in Illinois support 154,001 full-time jobs across all sectors of the state economy.

“These conditions are only going to get worse, increasing the additional costs to motorists, if greater investment is not made available at the federal, state and local levels of government,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Without adequate funding, Illinois’ transportation system will become increasingly deteriorated and congested, hampering economic growth, safety, and quality of life.”




Driving on Illinois roads that are deteriorated, congested and that lack some desirable safety features costs Illinois drivers a total of $18.3 billion each year. TRIP has calculated the cost to the average motorist in the state’s largest urban areas in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC) as a result of driving on rough roads, the cost of lost time and wasted fuel due to congestion, and the financial cost of traffic crashes.



Due to inadequate state and local funding, forty-two percent of Illinois’ major roads and highways are in poor or mediocre condition.   The condition of state-maintained roads and bridges in Illinois is anticipated to decline through 2023 based on current funding.



Eight percent of Illinois’ bridges are rated poor/structurally deficient, meaning there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components.  The condition of state-maintained bridges in Illinois is anticipated to decline through 2023 based on current funding.  Forty-one percent of Illinois’ locally and state-maintained bridges have been rated in fair condition.



Congested roads choke commuting and commerce and cost Illinois drivers $8.5 billion each year in the form of lost time and wasted fuel. Drivers in the state’s largest urban areas lose up to $1,500 and spend as much as two-and-a-half days each year in congestion.


Nearly 5,100 people were killed in traffic crashes in Illinois from 2013 to 2017. Traffic crashes in which a lack of adequate roadway safety features were likely a contributing factor imposed $4.8 billion in economic costs in 2017.


The health and future growth of Illinois’ economy is riding on its transportation system. Each year, $2.9 trillion in goods are shipped to and from Illinois, mostly by truck. By 2045, total freight tonnage being shipped in and out of Illinois is projected to grow by 40 percent, with 70 percent of the added tonnage moved by truck.

A report by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association found that the design, construction, and maintenance of transportation infrastructure in Illinois supports 154,001 full-time jobs across all sectors of the state economy. These workers earn $6.5 billion annually. Approximately 2.6 million full-time jobs in Illinois in key industries like tourism, manufacturing, retail sales, agriculture are completely dependent on the state’s transportation infrastructure network.

For the full report visit  TRIP

Engineering and Construction Costs Increase at Slower Pace in April, IHS Markit Says

Construction costs continued to increase in April for the 30th consecutive month, according to IHS Markit (Nasdaq: INFO) and the Procurement Executives Group (PEG). The current headline IHS Markit PEG Engineering and Construction Cost Index registered 58.2 this month, a slight decline from March’s reading of 60.4. The materials and equipment price index fell to 59.2 in April with labor indexes also taking a step back in April but both remain firmly in positive territory, indicating continued price increases. Survey respondents reported falling prices for carbon steel pipe; all other categories ranging from turbines to transportation registered price increases. The index for fabricated structural steel climbed into positive territory, indicating more reports of price increases than decreases, for the first time since November. “Fabricated structural steel prices picked up late in the first quarter due to higher raw materials costs and a seasonal pick-up in demand,” said Amanda Eglinton, principal economist, pricing and purchasing, IHS Markit. “Steel input costs will decline over the near-term, however rising labor costs and supportive demand will limit declines in prices until later in the year.”

The sub-index for current subcontractor labor costs came in at 56.0, down from 59.7 in March. Labor costs rose in all regions of the United States and stayed nearly flat in both Western and Eastern Canada.

The six-month headline expectations for construction costs index reflected increasing prices for the 32nd consecutive month. The six-month materials and equipment expectations index registered 70.6 in April after sliding to 66.1 last month. Expectations for sub-contractor labor rose to 74.6 in April, up from 68.1 in March, with labor costs expected to rise in all regions of the U.S. and Canada.

In the survey comments, respondents indicated a tight labor market for all skilled trade workers.

o learn more about the IHS Markit PEG Engineering and Construction Cost Index or to obtain the latest published insight, please click here.

About IHS Markit (www.ihsmarkit.com)

IHS Markit (Nasdaq: INFO) is a world leader in critical information, analytics, and solutions for the major industries and markets that drive economies worldwide. The company delivers next-generation information, analytics and solutions to customers in business, finance, and government, improving their operational efficiency and providing deep insights that lead to well-informed, confident decisions. IHS Markit has more than 50,000 business and government customers, including 80 percent of the Fortune Global 500 and the world’s leading financial institutions.

Rebootonline.com Reports Construction had seen a -6.6% decrease in hiring since 2018

  • Gross hiring across all US industries has shown a -2.9% decrease compared to the beginning of 2018.
  • Interestingly, the industry with the largest increase in hiring was ‘Public Safety’at+6.4%.
  • Other prominent public service sectors, including ‘Education and ‘Health Care’ has seen a decrease in hiring with -5.9% and -3.2% retrospectively.
  • The industry that has had the largest decrease in hiring year-on-year was ‘Arts’ with -13.7%.
  • The‘Construction’ industry has had a decreaseof-6.6% in hiring year-on-year.

According to the most recent report by the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, businesses posted nearly 7.6 million jobs at the beginning of 2019, indicating a shift within the labor market. Despite this, there are currently around 1 million more open jobs than there are unemployed workers.

Interestingly, however, the unemployment rate remains unchanged at 3.8 percent as of March 2019, with the number of unemployed people in the US equating to around 6.2 million.

To explore the subject further, digital marketing agency Reboot Digital Marketing analyzed the latest findings found within the report ‘The Workforce Report March 2019’by LinkedIn* to further understand the industries with the largest hiring shifts over the last year.

According to the report, over 155 million US workers have LinkedIn profiles, with over 3 million new jobs posted on the site every month. However, despite this, gross hiring across all US industries was down -2.9% compared to February 2018.

Despite the evolution of technology, it seems the demand for more traditional/public service positions will not be disappearing anytime soon. Remarkably, a surprising industry that has seen the highest increase in hiring is ‘Public Safety’ at +6.4% year-on-year.

Despite the substantial positive increase for this sector, both ‘Education and ‘Health Care’ has seen a decrease in hiring with -5.9% and -3.2% retrospectively.

Ranking just after ‘Public Safety’, Reboot Digital Marketing can also reveal the next five industries that had the highest notable increase in hiring between February 2018- 2019 were:

Software and I.T Services(+4.6%), Corporate Services(+4%), Public Administration(+2.1%), and bothWellness & Fitness, and Transportation & Logistics with +0.5%.

At the other end of the scale, Reboot Digital Marketing found that the following ten industrieshad thelargestmost notable decreasesin hiring from 2018-2019:

(-13.7%),Agriculture (-11.1%),Consumer Goods (-8.4%),Retail (-8.1%),Hardware & Networking (-7.7%),Entertainment (-7.7%),Construction and Manufacturing (-6.6%) andfinally Design as well as Real Estate with -6%.

Shai Aharony, Managing Director of Rebootonline.com commented:

“Our digital agency has grown over the last two years and recruiting skilled people is essential to our expansion. We have large numbers of candidates applying for roles; however, they often do not possess the correct skills or relevant work experience in the IT and marketing field. If you are looking for employment in a particular industry, make sure your CV reflects your talent in this area. Take a course or gain additional qualifications relevant to the job role which makes you enticing to prospective employers. Internships and work experience are also valuable tools to gain knowledge and bridge the skills gap.”

*Methodology: “Hiring rate” is the count of hires divided by the total number of LinkedIn members in the US. The count of hires is those that have added a new employer to their profile in the same month the new job began. The figures represent the year on year percentage change between February 2018 to February 2019.

Information and graphic, courtesy of  Rebootonline.com


Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

*  Last August, Texas Gulf Terminals filed an application with Texas Gulf Terminals and the Coast Guard to construct and operate a deepwater port (DWP) located approximately 12.7 nautical miles off the coast of North Padre Island, TX.  The DWP would load and export various grades of crude at flow rates of up to 60,000 barrels per hour.  Things haven’t gone as planned and the CG and MARAD had to suspend the timeline (the “stop- clock”) for reviewing TGT’s application.  The reasons: TGT has not fulfilled environmental reporting obligations and, the Agencies charge, it has missed deadlines on a range of critical topics.  Some concerns are really basic, e.g., agencies don’t yet know what the preferred pipeline route will be, or how TGT will source its feed oil.  The stop clock decision interrupts a process schedule meant to give companies some assurance that an application will be reviewed and judged within a relatively predictable timeline, usually within a year.  Maybe TGT can scramble and get back in synch with CG and MARAD.  On the other hand, maybe they can’t, possibly throwing a monkey-wrench into very complicated infrastructure.  After all, next August is only about five months away.
*  The FCC published a notification last week on a topic that, very likely, most people don’t think about too much, but is within a system impacting critical daily processes: “Mitigation of Orbital Debris in the New Space Age.”  FCC is seeking to amend rules that mitigate space debris and to address various market developments.  This is the first comprehensive review since the rules were adopted in 2004.  FCC writes that the amount of debris capable of producing catastrophic damage to functional spacecraft has increased.  And don’t just think in terms of a chunk of metal as big as a 1963 VW Beetle crashing through some robotic windshield and wiping out your ATM transactions.  Rather, one concern, for example, is the release of liquid fuel droplets, rather than, say, gaseous fuel propellants, which dissipate when leaked.  At orbital velocities, the droplets can cause substantial or catastrophic damage upon collision.  Got any ideas about fixing that?  Comments are due by April 5.
*  NOAA holds a two-and-a-half-day meeting next month of the Hydrographic Services Review Panel (HSRP), a Federal Advisory Committee established to advise the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere on matters related to the responsibilities and authorities in Section 303 of the Hydrographic Services Improvement Act of 1998.  This is important stuff, focusing on national issues – from sea level rise to navigation data – as well as core NOAA issues, including gravity modeling, nautical charting, and bathymetric mapping.  These NOAA programs support navigation, resilient coasts and communities, and the nationwide positioning information infrastructure to support America’s commerce.  The agenda will include presentations from state and federal agencies, non-federal organizations and associations, regional and national stakeholders and partners about their missions and how they use NOAA’s navigation services and how those services might improve.
Tom Ewing
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513-379-5526 voice/text

FY 2019 Spending Bills Are Finally Law

By Dean Franks, senior vice president, congressional relations, ARTBA

The House and Senate Feb. 14 overwhelmingly approved the final seven FY 2019 spending bills after nearly five months of short-term extensions and the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.  President Donald Trump Feb. 15 signed the legislation despite the lack of southern border wall funding included in the Homeland Security portion of the package.

The law includes full FAST Act surface transportation law funding for core highway and transit programs. It also contains $5.5 billion in additional general revenue funding for surface and aviation capital investments as the second part of a two-year bipartisan budget agreement reached in 2018. Here’s the breakdown:

In a Feb. 14 letter, the ARTBA co-chaired Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) urged all members of the House and Senate to support the package.

The completion of the FY 2019 funding bills is important to the transportation construction industry for multiple reasons:

  • States will receive their full-year spending authority, which should ease uncertainty and allow their transportation departments to continue developing planned projects;
  • Congressional leadership and Trump administration officials can focus on other areas of potential agreement, such as the enactment of a robust infrastructure package in 2019; and
  • the Trump administration can send its FY 2020 budget to Congress, allowing senators and representatives to begin working on the next round spending bills.

ARTBA will continue to encourage Congress and the administration to include a solution to the Highway Trust Fund revenue shortfall in any infrastructure legislation put forward this year.