Tag Archive for 'unemployment'

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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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.

AEM: What the State of the Union Needs to Address Bipartisan solutions needed to get policies passed, support 1.3 million U.S. jobs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) President Dennis Slater issued the following statement today on what the equipment manufacturing industry needs to hear from

Dennis Slater, AEM President

President Trump during tonight’s State of the Union Address and from Democrats in their response:

“Equipment manufacturers want President Trump and the Democrats to work together this year to pass legislation to support 1.3 million equipment manufacturing jobs and keep our nation strong,” said Dennis Slater, president AEM. “Without everyone working together, the American worker and U.S. consumers will bear the brunt of continued D.C. gridlock. We urge both Republicans and Democrats to find common ground on solutions that will rebuild our nation’s infrastructure, create greater access to free trade, bolster the U.S. agriculture economy, and secure comprehensive tax reform that levels the playing field for our industry in a globally competitive business environment.”
In addition to 1.3 million good-paying jobs supported by equipment manufacturers in all 50 states, the industry also contributes $158 billion year to the U.S. economy.
In 2019, AEM has four main policy priorities:
Infrastructure is the backbone of America’s economy. To have the strongest, most resilient economy in the world, America must have the best infrastructure in the world. That is why AEM is urging policymakers to pass comprehensive legislation to rebuild our infrastructure, create good-paying jobs, grow our economy, and help reclaim our infrastructure advantage. AEM believes that the federal government must continue to maintain a strong role in funding U.S. infrastructure construction, maintenance, and modernization. This includes providing a long-term and sustainable funding mechanism for the Highway Trust Fund, connecting urban and rural America, ensuring that projects are delivered in a cost-effective and time-efficient manner, providing job training programs for the workforce, and maximizing the use of smart technology.
On January 25, AEM began a two-week public affairs campaign titled “Start with Infrastructure.” The campaign’s goal is to demonstrate the wide-ranging benefits of infrastructure investment to the nation’s economy and keep infrastructure at the top of policymakers’ lists to take action on in 2019. The campaign features digital and social advertisements in the Washington, D.C. media market. AEM is also hosting a town hall discussion on the “Prospects for Infrastructure in the 116th Congress” with members of Congress and business leaders at the Newseum this Friday, February 8. A live stream of the event will be available at www.twitter.com/imakeamerica.
With about 30 percent of equipment made in the United States destined for export, it’s important that the Trump administration and Congress support pro-growth trade policies that keep U.S. equipment manufacturing competitive in an increasingly competitive global market. Tariffs artificially raise the cost of domestic production, eliminate export markets for U.S. equipment manufacturers, and risk wiping out many of the benefits of tax reform. While other countries’ unfair trade practices must be addressed, taxing American consumers and businesses will not solve the underlying problems.
In addition, the retaliatory tariffs put into place by China significantly hurts U.S. farmers and the broader agriculture economy, further threatening to reduce the domestic sales of agriculture equipment. In 2019, AEM will continue to urge the Trump administration and Congress to promote free and fair trade through the successful ratification of the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA), and launch negotiations with other trade partners to create improved market access for U.S. manufactured goods and services, and find a long-term solution to the ongoing trade dispute with China.
AEM members have regularly spoken out against the tariffs and AEM joined the free trade coalition “Americans for Free Trade” as an executive member last year along with more than 80 of the nation’s leading trade associations and businesses.
A strong farm economy not only assists farmers and ranchers but also helps protect the 320,000 agriculture equipment manufacturing jobs across the United States. That is why AEM wants the U.S. Department of Agriculture to implement the 2018 Farm Bill quickly. It’s also why AEM wants the Trump administration and Congress to expand rural broadband coverage and expects the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to follow the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) law as written and allowing year-round sales of E15.
In 2019, AEM will also work with the EPA to expand its understanding of the full range of Drift Reduction Technology (DRT) and improving the DRT program so it achieves its intended purpose.
Tax policy
AEM led the equipment manufacturing industry’s efforts to reform our outdated tax code and secured many of the changes in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that President Trump signed into law in 2017. While the final bill was not perfect, it represented the kind of comprehensive and permanent tax reform that will tilt the playing field back in favor of equipment manufacturers in the United States.
AEM supports all efforts to make the new tax code even stronger for equipment manufacturers, including making permanent full expensing for short-life investments, the deduction for qualified business income, and 100 percent bonus depreciation, as well as making the Base Erosion and Anti-Abuse Tax (BEAT) a true alternative minimum tax.
For more information about AEM’s top advocacy positions, please visit www.aem.org/advocacy.
AEM is the North American-based international trade group representing off-road equipment manufacturers and suppliers, with more than 1,000 companies and more than 200 product lines in the agriculture and construction-related industry sectors worldwide. The equipment manufacturing industry supports 1.3 million jobs in the U.S., and 149,000 more in Canada. Equipment manufacturers also contribute $188 billion combined to the U.S. and Canadian economies. AEM is celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2019.

Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation Presents 2019 Forecast


Texas and Wyoming Have Biggest Number and Percent of Annual Job Gains as Missouri, Hawaii Lag; California and Wyoming Have Largest One-Month Gains, While Florida and Rhode Island Trail

Forty-two states and the District of Columbia added construction jobs between November 2017 and November 2018, while 23 states added construction jobs between October and November, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of Labor Department data released today. Association officials said extremely low unemployment rates in most of the nation have made it hard for contractors in many states to continue adding workers, despite strong demand for projects.

“November was the first month this year in which fewer than half the states experienced monthly increases in construction employment,” stated chief economist Ken Simonson. “At a time when job openings are at record highs, the recent slowdown in hiring in some states may indicate contractors are unable to find qualified workers, rather than a slackening in demand for construction.”

The economist noted that job openings in construction totaled 292,000 at the end of October, a jump of 59,000 or 25 percent from a year earlier and the highest October level in the 18 years that the Labor Department has published the series. The number of unemployed jobseekers with recent construction experience—352,000—was the lowest yet for that month. Together, these figures suggest contractors in many states cannot find experienced workers to fill vacancies, Simonson said.

Texas added the most construction jobs during the past year (47,100 jobs, 6.5 percent). Other states adding a large number of new construction jobs for the past 12 months include Florida (32,900 jobs, 6.4 percent), California (29,600 jobs, 3.6 percent), Arizona (18,500 jobs, 12.3 percent) and Georgia (18,200 jobs, 9.7 percent). Wyoming added the highest percentage of construction jobs during the past year (15.2 percent, 2,900 jobs), followed by Arizona, Nevada (11.7 percent, 9,900 jobs), North Dakota (11.4 percent, 2,900 jobs), Connecticut (11.0 percent, 6,400 jobs) and Oregon (10.7 percent, 10,500 jobs). Construction employment reached a record high in four states: Nebraska, New York, Oregon and Texas.

Seven states shed construction jobs between November 2017 and 2018, while construction employment was unchanged in Rhode Island. The largest decline occurred in Missouri (-3,300 jobs, -2.7 percent), followed by South Carolina (-3,100 jobs, -3.0 percent) and New Jersey (-2,200 jobs, -1.4 percent). Hawaii had the steepest percentage job loss for the year (-3.8 percent, -1,400 jobs), followed by South Carolina, Missouri, and New Jersey.

Among the 23 states with one-month job gains between October and November, California had the largest pickup (3,300 jobs, 0.4 percent), followed by Texas (2,700 jobs, 0.3 percent), Pennsylvania (1,900 jobs, 0.7 percent) and Arizona (1,900 jobs, 1.1 percent). Wyoming added the highest percentage of construction jobs for the month (4.8 percent, 1,000 jobs), followed by North Dakota (2.5 percent, 700 jobs) and West Virginia (2.3 percent, 800 jobs).

Construction employment decreased from October to November in 22 states and was unchanged in five states and D.C. Florida lost the most construction jobs (-3,800 jobs, -0.7 percent), followed by Missouri (-3,100 jobs, -2.5 percent) and North Carolina (-1,500 jobs, -0.7 percent). Rhode Island lost the highest percentage of construction jobs in November (-3.6 percent, -700 jobs), followed by Missouri and Hawaii (-2.4 percent, -900 jobs).

Association officials said the soaring level of job openings points to the urgency of implementing effective career and technical education programs to enable workers to get jobs in fields such as construction. “Contractors in many parts of the country are ready and willing to offer high-paying jobs with great career advancement opportunities,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Federal, state and local officials should facilitate those opportunities by modernizing and adequately funding appropriate education and training programs.”

View the state employment data by rank, state, and peaks. View the state employment map.