Oklahoma College of Construction Blog

News Blog, from the President's desk

June 13, 2013

Posted by nahetsblog on June 13, 2013

Jobs numbers jump in May

The volatility in the employment data continued in Canada during May with an increase of 95,000 reported, building on the 12,500 rise in April.

Figures released this morning by Statistics Canada say these back-to-back gains mean that the economy more than recaptured the 25,700 jobs lost in the first quarter. May’s increase was the second largest monthly gain on record. The unemployment rate inched down to 7.1% from April’s 7.2% holding in the range established since November.

The largest sources of strength in the report showed up in construction, wholesale/retail trade, and education. Private-sector employment accounted for all the increase in May with a small decline in self-employment offset by a small increase in public sector employment. The gains in May were concentrated in full-time employment which increased by 76,700 while part-time employment increased by a modest 18,200 reversing much of April’s 23,600-worker decline.

On an industry basis, manufacturing employment fell by 14,200 largely reversing the 20,600 gain recorded in April. Year-to-date the manufacturing sector has cut 65,000 jobs. Construction employment conversely posted a large increase in May, rising 42,700.

On a provincial basis, the largest gain was recorded in Ontario, where employment increased by 51,000 in May and the unemployment rate fell to the lowest level since November 2008 at 7.3%. Quebec and Alberta also posted solid increases in employment in the month.

Alberta’s unemployment rate, however, increased by 0.4 ppt to 4.8% as there were more entrants into the labour forecast. Saskatchewan saw its unemployment rate rise to 4.5% from 4.0% as employment dipped slightly while the labour force expanded modestly. Still, the province retained the title of having the lowest unemployment rate in Canada.

Construction employment a drag on private sector job growth

The private sector added 135,000 jobs in May — an increase from 113,000 in April, but well under analyst estimates, HR staffing firm ADP said Wednesday.

In its National Employment Report, ADP said financial industry jobs represented 7,000 of the new positions. Despite these gains, jobs in financial services failed to offset weakness in construction, a sector that lost 6,000 positions.

The job growth is positive, but not strong enough to signal a strong turnaround, analysts with Econoday suggested.

"Expectations, however, were looking for a greater rate of improvement with the Econoday consensus calling for a gain 171,000 in May," staffers with the research firm said.

Additionally, Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics, noted, "The job market continues to expand, but growth has slowed since the beginning of the year. The slowdown is evident across all industries and all but the largest companies. Manufacturers are reducing payrolls."

He added, "The softer job market this spring is largely due to significant fiscal drag from tax increases and government spending cuts."

Report: Nevada construction job picture mixed

Nevada lost construction jobs in April from a month earlier but scored gains over the previous 12 months, according to a report by the Associated General Contractors of America.

Overall, construction employment declined in 32 states and the District of Columbia in April even as 29 states added jobs between April 2012 and April 2013, according to the report.

“The industry shows signs of recovering but employment growth continues to be uneven, with some areas seeing stronger gains even as others continue to contract,” said Ken Simonson, AGC chief economist.

Illinois had the largest decline in construction employment between March and April followed by New York and Wisconsin. Florida added the largest number of jobs followed by California and Texas.

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May 19, 2013

Posted by nahetsblog on May 20, 2013

Ontario economic snapshot for May 11, 2013

TORONTO, ON, May. 11, 2013/ Troy Media/ – The number of employed people in Ontariowas virtually unchanged in April compared to March, according to Statistics Canada. There were no significant changes in any of the labour force survey’s headline indicators.

The unemployment rate remained at 7.7 per cent seasonally adjusted (SA).

Jobs in goods-producing industries increased in March, led by construction. Employment also increased in professional and technical services. Growth in these industries was offset by lower employment in business support services and transportation.

In Toronto, both the labour force and employment increased in March, lowering the metropolitan unemployment rate to 8.1 per cent. Recent job growth in Ontario has been led by Toronto, Kingston-Pembroke and northern regions. Gains in these regions have been offset by declines in Ottawa.

In the first four months of 2013, employment in Ontario has averaged 6.76 million persons, up 1.2 per cent from the same period last year. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate has averaged 7.8 per cent of the labour force, virtually unchanged from a year ago. Employment in Ontario remains on an upward trend while the unemployment rate is range bound.

We forecast the average level of employment in Ontario will increase at an accelerating pace of 1.2 per cent in 2013 and 1.6 per cent in 2014, following 0.8 per cent growth last year. The unemployment rate is forecast at 7.5 per cent this year and 7.0 per cent next year after averaging 7.8 per cent in 2012.

Construction

Building permits issued in Ontarioduring March increased 20 per cent from February to $2.3 billion on higher non-residential development activity in Toronto.

Residential permits totalled $1.2 billion, little changed from February. Private sector non-residential permits jumped 35 per cent to $822 million, while public sector non-residential permits increased 158 per cent to $291 million. All figures are seasonally adjusted.

Building permits issued in Ontario are currently trending near the low end of their post-recession range and are well below year-ago levels. In the first quarter of 2013, permits issued totalled $6.3 billion, down 19 per cent from the same period last year. Year-to-date residential permits are down 21 per cent year-over-year, private sector non-residential permits are little changed and public sector non-residential permits are down 48 per cent.

In Toronto, first quarter permits totalled $3.3 billion, down 26 per cent year-over-year. In the rest of Ontario, permits totalled $2.9 billion, down 9 per cent. Slower housing sales and overbuilding concerns will lead to a 10 per cent decline in residential building permits in Ontario in 2013. Most of the decline will be in multi-unit residential projects primarily in Toronto, reflecting a temporary supply adjustment. Residential permits are forecast to hold steady in 2014 and 2015, as multi-family activity moves towards historical norms.

Housing

Housing starts in Ontariototalled 44,874 units at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate (SAAR) in April, down 15 per cent from March.

The decrease was almost entirely due to fewer multi-family starts in Toronto and fewer single detached starts in the rest of the province. Housing starts have been trending down throughout Ontario since reaching a cyclical high in April 2012.

In the first four months of 2013, housing starts in Ontario totalled 50,800 units at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate (SAAR), down 37 per cent from the same period last year. The decrease was mostly in multi-family projects in Toronto although detached housing starts and housing starts elsewhere in Ontario are also down.

Lower in-migration and less stimulating mortgage lending policies are driving the current downward trend in housing sales and starts. We forecast housing starts will total 69,000 units in 2013 and 70,000 units in 2014, following 76,742 unit starts last year.

U.S. home building surges, but job growth doesn’t

By Alex Viega

The resurgent U.S. housing market has sent builders calling again for Richard Vap, who owns a drywall installation company. Vap would love to help — if he could hire enough qualified people. "There is a shortage of manpower," says Vap, owner of South Valley Drywall in Littleton, Colo. "We’re probably only hiring about 75 or 80 percent of what we actually need."

U.S. builders and the subcontractors they depend on are struggling to hire fast enough to meet rising demand for new homes. Builders would be starting work on more homes — and contributing more to the economy — if they could fill more job openings.

In the meantime, workers in the right locations with the right skills are commanding higher pay.

The shortage of labor ranges across occupations — from construction superintendents and purchasing agents to painters, cabinet makers and drywall installers. The National Association of Home Builders says its members have complained of too few framers, roofers, plumbers and carpenters. The shortage is most acute in areas where demand for new homes has recovered fastest, notably in Arizona, California, Texas, Colorado and Florida.

The problem results largely from an exodus of workers from the industry after the housing bubble burst. Experienced construction workers lost jobs. And many found new work — in commercial building or in booming and sometimes higher-paying industries such as mining and natural gas drilling — and aren’t eager to come back.

Hispanic immigrants, largely from Mexico, who had filled jobs during the boom were among those who left the industry and, in some cases, the United States.

Dave Erickson, president of Greyhawk Homes in Columbus, Ga., lost an employee who took a job this year in Texas. The former employee now is installing fiber-optic cable and earning 30 percent more than he did as a construction supervisor.

"I think he’s frustrated with the cycle we went through in recent years," Erickson says.

A shortage of labor in a well-paying industry might seem incongruous in an economy stuck with a still-high 7.5 percent unemployment rate. But it reflects just how many former skilled construction workers have moved on to other fields.

In 2006, when the boom peaked, 3.4 million people worked in homebuilding. By 2011, the figure had bottomed at about 2 million. As of last month, about 2.1 million people were employed in residential construction.

Jobs in the industry did rise 4.1 percent in April from a year earlier, faster than overall U.S. job growth. But they’d have to surge 24 percent more to reach 2.6 million, their 2002 level — "the last time the market was normal," says David Crowe, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders.

For now, the industry is building faster than it’s hiring. In February, builders began work on single-family homes at the fastest pace in five years. And in March, new home construction broke the 1 million mark for the first time since June 2008. Permits for future construction also are near a five-year high.

In the 12 months that ended in March, housing starts surged 47 percent. Yet over the same period, the industry’s employment grew just 3.7 percent.

Normally, a rebound in home construction helps propel an economy after a recession. But even with the steady gains in housing starts, sales and prices since last year, the industry remains below levels considered healthy.

The National Association of Home Builders says nearly half its members who responded to a survey in March said a scarcity of labor has led to delays in completing work. Fifteen percent have had to turn down some projects.

"I can’t find qualified people to fill the positions that I have open," says Vishaal Gupta, president of Park Square Homes in Orlando, Fla. If not for the labor shortage, "I would be able to build more homes this year and meet more demand than I can handle today."

Gupta’s company is facing a side effect of the labor shortage: Demand for higher pay from qualified workers. On some occasions, he says he’s been outbid by rivals that need contractors for their own projects. Gupta’s preferred paint contractor left for a rival that paid more. His new cabinet contractor is about 10 percent more expensive than the one Gupta used before.

The higher pay they’re handing out helps explain why builders have been gradually raising prices on new homes. The median price was $247,000 in March, up about 12 percent from the same month in 2011, the Commerce Department says.

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May 9 , 2013

Posted by nahetsblog on May 9, 2013

Construction Unemployment Drops to 13.2 Percent

Sandy Williams

Residential Contractors Add Jobs at Robust Clip for the Month and Year While Nonresidential Employment Rises Relative to 2012 Level but Slips from March; Association Warns of Potential Future Worker Shortages

AGC of America, May 3, 2013 – The unemployment rate for construction workers fell to the lowest April level in five years as contractors added more than 150,000 employees in the past year despite a dip in employment last month, according to an analysis of new government data by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials noted that, despite the monthly drop, the industry is likely to continue adding jobs for much of 2013.

“It is heartening to see that both nonresidential and residential segments of the construction industry added significant numbers of workers in the last 12 months, even though gains from March to April were limited to the residential side,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Other indicators, such as the continuing growth in architectural and engineering employment, suggest that demand for construction will expand further.”

Seasonally adjusted construction employment of 5.79 million in April was 6,000 less than in March, but 154,000, or 2.7 percent, higher than in April 2012, Simonson noted. Residential building and specialty trade contractors added 13,300 workers in the month and 83,700 (4.1 percent) over 12 months. Nonresidential building and specialty trade contractors, along with heavy and civil engineering construction firms, lost 19,700 employees in April, but added 70,100 (2.0 percent) over 12 months. Architectural and engineering services employment climbed by 2,700 in the month and 23,400 (1.8 percent) from a year earlier.

The unemployment rate for jobseekers who last worked in construction fell to 13.2 percent from 14.5 percent in April 2012, the lowest April level since 2008. Three years ago, in April 2010, the rate was 21.8 percent. The industry unemployment rate is not seasonally adjusted and, thus, can be compared to the same month in past years but not month to month.

“The ongoing decline in the construction unemployment rate is only partly a result of opportunities in the industry,” Simonson pointed out. “Unfortunately, many former workers have now left the industry, perhaps permanently, which will make further recovery in construction more difficult.”

Association officials said that if construction employment grows as expected during the coming months, it will become increasingly difficult for employers in particularly fast growing market regions and segments to find qualified workers. They added that a lack of domestic skill-based educational programs and arbitrary caps on the number of construction workers in proposed immigration legislation would make it harder for firms to keep up with growing demand.

“It will not take a lot of growth in demand before many construction firms are scrambling to fill positions with skilled workers,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “We need to provide significantly more opportunities for students to learn skills-based crafts like construction and avoid imposing artificial limits on the size of the construction workforce in immigration legislation.”

CONSTRUCTION EMPLOYMENT INCREASES IN 152 OUT OF 339 METRO AREAS BETWEEN MARCH 2012 & 2013 WHILE CONSTRUCTION SPENDING IS UP 4.8 PERCENT FOR THE YEAR

WASHINGTON, D.C. – May 3, 2013 – (RealEstateRama) — Construction employment increased in 152 out of 339 metropolitan areas between March 2012 and March 2013, declined in 126 and was stagnant in 61, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials noted that many metro areas are adding jobs as construction spending increased 4.8 percent, or $38.9 billion, during the same time frame.

“Today’s figures on employment by metro area and construction spending nationally in March highlight the uneven and fragile recovery that construction is experiencing,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “The totals are up on a year-over-year basis, and should continue to improve during the remainder of 2013, but not every sector or region will do well.”

Pascagoula, Miss. added the highest percentage of new construction jobs (47 percent, 1,700 jobs) followed by Fargo, N.D. (21 percent, 1,300 jobs); Merced, Calif. (19 percent, 300 jobs); Anchorage, Alaska (18 percent, 1,500 jobs); Corpus Christi, Texas (18 percent, 4,000 jobs) and Salinas, Calif. (18 percent, 700 jobs). Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas (12,000 jobs, 11 percent) added the most jobs. Other areas adding a large number of jobs included Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas (8,500 jobs, 5 percent); Baltimore-Towson, Md. (7,700 jobs, 12 percent) and Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif. (7,500 jobs, 7 percent).

The largest job losses were in Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, Ill. (-2,700 jobs, -3 percent) and Northern Virginia (-2,700 jobs, -4 percent); followed by Cincinnati-Middletown, Ohio-Ky.-Ind. (-2,600 jobs, -7 percent); Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, Mich. (-2,300 jobs, -14 percent) and Raleigh-Cary, N.C. (-2,200 jobs, -8 percent). Monroe, Mich. (-19 percent, -500 jobs) lost the highest percentage. Other areas experiencing large percentage declines in construction employment included Rockford, Ill. (-18 percent, -700 jobs); Bellingham, Wash. (-15 percent, -1,000 jobs) and Pocatello, Idaho (-15 percent, -200 jobs).

Simonson noted that construction spending nationally in March was 4.8 percent higher than in March 2012, but down 1.7 percent from a month earlier, according to new Census Bureau data. Only private residential construction spending grew in both time periods, rising 0.4 percent for the month and 18 percent year-over-year. Private nonresidential spending retreated 1.5 percent from the February level, but increased 2.8 percent from March 2012. Public construction activity dropped 4.1 percent and 5.4 percent, respectively.

“For the rest of the year, the best performing categories are likely to be multifamily housing, power and energy, manufacturing, warehouses and private transportation while most public segments will continue to languish,” Simonson added. “For the year as a whole, I expect both residential and private nonresidential construction spending to top 2012 totals by 10 to 15 percent, while public construction will slip 2 to 5 percent.”

View construction employment figures by state and rank.

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May 3, 2013

Posted by nahetsblog on May 3, 2013

KC-area construction employment favors Kansas over Missouri

Kansas City saw construction employment decline sharply on the Missouri side and rise on the Kansas side in March.

The data come from an analysis of federal employment data compiled by the Associated General Contractors of America.

Overall, construction employment in the metro declined slightly in the first quarter of 2013 as compared to the same period last year, a release said.

In Kansas City, Mo., construction employment fell by 6 percent in March to 20,100 from 21,400 the year before. In Kansas City, Kan., employment in the industry rose to 16,300 from 15,600 last year — a 4 percent increase.

Kansas City, Mo., ranked 291 while Kansas City, Kan., ranked 102 among the 339 metro areas analyzed in the report.

The local data matches up with the statewide data released in early April. In the Show-Me State, construction employment declined by 3.2 percent while in the Sunflower State employment was up by 0.4 percent.

Nationally, construction employment increased in 152 out of 339 metro areas studied, declined in 126 and was stagnant in 61.

Pascagoula, Miss., was the top-ranked metro area in March, boosting its construction workforce by 47 percent. Monroe, Mich., which lost 19 percent of its workforce, ranked last.

Meanwhile, year-over-year national construction spending was 4.8 percent higher than in March 2012.

Private residential construction spending rose by 18 percent compared to last year while non-residential spending increased by 2.8 percent. Public spending was down by 5.4 percent compared to the first quarter of 2012.

Ken Simonson, the AGC’s chief economist, said in a release that the uneven numbers suggest the recovery is not being felt across-the-board in the industry.

“The totals are up on a year-over-year basis, and should continue to improve during the remainder of 2013, but not every sector or region will do well,” Simonson said in a release. “For the rest of the year, the best performing categories are likely to be multifamily housing, power and energy, manufacturing, warehouses and private transportation while most public segments will continue to languish.”

Jobs inch upwards as pay holds steady

Private sector construction employment in New York City rose 2.4 percent in 2012 while wages have remained virtually unchanged, according to a New York Building Congress analysis of New York State Department of Labor employment statistics.

New York City construction employment for all of 2012 averaged 114,875, up from an average of 112,192 jobs in 2011. The overall jobs numbers have remained in a very narrow range for three consecutive years (112,383 construction jobs recorded in 2010).

The modest upward trend in construction employment has continued in the initial months of 2013.

According to the data analyzed by the Building Congress, construction employment reached 111,333 in the first quarter of 2013, up 1.3 percent from the same period a year ago and 5.4 percent from the first quarter of 2011.

Construction industry employment generally is lowest in the first quarter of each year as companies reduce employees on payroll during the winter months.

Despite the recent upward trend in employment, average construction industry employment is still down 13 percent from 2008, during the height of New York City’s building boom.

The specialty trades sector, which includes plumbers and electricians, accounted for 74,250 jobs in 2012, which was a 2.1 percent increase from 2011. Workers involved in the construction of buildings accounted for 31,592 jobs (a 3.8 percent increase from 2011).

The heavy construction and civil engineering sector produced 9,033 jobs, which was virtually identical to 2011.

“While employment remains well below the standard set in the latter portion of the last decade, the industry has nonetheless regained its footing and the current trends in the job market are generally positive,” said Building Congress President Richard T. Anderson.

“It is also encouraging to note that the numbers have been stable in each of the employment categories, as it suggests that job opportunities are being created for workers in all sectors of the industry.”

Average wages earned by construction workers in the private sector remained flat through the nine months of 2012 (the latest period for which data are available). Construction workers in New York City earned an average of $51,060 in the first nine months of 2012, compared to $50,989 for the same period in 2011 and $49,224 during the first nine months of 2010.

Given that fourth quarter earnings are generally highest, due to year-end bonuses, it appears that annual earnings in 2012 will roughly equal the $71,081 reached in 2011. In 2010, earnings for the entire year averaged $69,622 per worker.

“While the relative stagnation in 2012 wages is largely indicative of the overall U.S. job market,” Anderson continued, “it also likely reflects the collective impact of the union contracts signed in 2011, recent project-labor agreements and the increasing use of lower-wage nonunion labor throughout the City.”

Dallas led U.S. metro areas in construction job gains as of March, Houston was second

Dallas led the nation’s metropolitan areas in construction job gains as of March, according to data released today by an industry trade group.

The Dallas-Plano-Irving area added 12,000 construction jobs, or an 11 percent increase from a year earlier, according to the Associated General Contractors of America.

The Houston area was No. 2 with 8,500 new jobs, up 5 percent.

Overall, construction employment increased in 152 of 339 U.S. metro areas, declined in 126 and was the same in 61, AGCA said. At the same time, U.S. construction spending increased 4.8 percent, or $38.9 billion, the trade group said. (However, construction spending fell 1.7 percent from February to March.)

Most of the growth has been driven by — and will continue to be driven by — the construction of single-family homes, apartments, power and energy projects, industrial buildings, warehouses and transportation projects, said AGCA chief economist Ken Simonson.

However, the latest job and spending data underscores the “uneven and fragile” recovery in the construction industry, Simonson said. He expects construction job growth to continue through the rest of the year, but “not every sector or region will do well.”

Ranked by percentage of construction job growth for the year ended March, Pascagoula, Miss., was No. 1 (47 percent, 1,700 jobs).

The Chicago area saw the most construction job losses (-2,700, down 3 percent). Monroe, Mich. posted the highest percentage loss (down 19 percent or 500 jobs).

Overall jobs

Some Texas metro areas also led the nation in the highest number and percentage of total job growth in March from a year earlier.

Houston added the third highest number of jobs (+102,300) and Dallas-Fort Worth was fourth (+101,000). Los Angeles was No. 1 (+116,000) and New York was No. 2 (+116,000).

By percentage nationally, Odessa was No. 1, with employment up 7.7 percent, and Midland was No. 2, with employment up 7.4 percent.

Overall, more than three quarters of 372 U.S. metro areas saw year-over-year increases in total employment in March, 80 had decreases and 5 saw no change.

Unemployment rates declined in 82 percent of all metro areas, rose in 44 and were the same in 22. Midland had the nation’s lowest rate of 3.1 percent in March.

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April 14, 2013

Posted by nahetsblog on April 14, 2013

U.S. construction employment grows in 35 states in February

WASHINGTON, D.C.

Construction employment expanded in 35 U.S. states in February as the industry added 48,000 jobs nationally, the largest one-month gain in nearly six years, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of Labor Department data.

Association officials cautioned, however, that newly enacted federal budget cuts could reverse the construction employment pickup in numerous states.

“The turnaround in construction hiring that began in a few states two years ago has now spread to most of the country,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist.

“There are strong indications that the expansion will continue for residential and private nonresidential construction, but investment in infrastructure and public buildings is likely to shrink further.”

Simonson noted that only 12 states and D.C. lost construction jobs between January and February, while employment held steady in three states: Connecticut, Montana and Vermont.

Among the 35 states with one-month increases in construction employment, Utah had the largest percentage rise (5.3 per cent, 3,700 jobs); followed by Mississippi (4.7 per cent, 2,200 jobs); Oklahoma (4.7 per cent, 3,200 jobs); and Missouri (4.3 per cent, 4,500 jobs). Texas added the largest number of jobs (15,700, 2.6 per cent); followed by Virginia (6,500, 3.8 per cent); California (5,700, 0.9 per cent) and Missouri.

Washington had the steepest monthly percentage drop in construction employment (-2.5 per cent, -3,600 jobs); followed by North Dakota (-2.3 per cent, -700 jobs) and Ohio (-2.1 per cent, -3,700 jobs). Florida lost the largest number of construction jobs for the month (-5,300, -1.5 per cent); followed by Ohio and Washington.

Simonson reported that 29 states and the District of Columbia added construction jobs from February 2012 to February 2013, 20 states lost workers and one — Delaware — had no change.

Alaska led all jurisdictions in the percentage of new construction jobs (13.3 per cent, 2,200 jobs); followed by Hawaii (8.0 per cent, 2,300 jobs); and Texas (7.5 per cent, 43,300 jobs). Texas added the most new construction jobs over the past 12 months, followed by California (35,800, 6.2 per cent).

Among states losing construction jobs during the past year, Rhode Island lost the highest percentage (-10.4 per cent, -1,700 jobs); followed by Arkansas (-9.6 per cent, -4,700 jobs); Montana (-7.2 per cent, -1,700 jobs) and South Dakota (-6.4 per cent, -1,400 jobs).

Ohio lost the most jobs (-7,900 jobs, -4.3 per cent); followed by Illinois (-7,500 jobs, -3.8 per cent) and Arkansas.

Association officials said the cuts in federal funding for construction mandated by the spending bill enacted earlier this month would hit states very unevenly.

States with large military and federal civilian facilities are particularly likely to experience a downturn in public construction and resulting loss of construction jobs, they said.

“With the nation’s infrastructure having just received a near-failing grade from civil engineers, this is no time to be reducing federal investment in needed transportation, water systems and environmental structures,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer.

“Such underinvestment will cost construction workers and firms now but will be even more costly to the nation’s competitiveness and quality of life over time.”

Construction employment up in nation, Idaho, Boise

Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2013/04/09/2527346/construction-employment-up-in.html#storylink=cpy

The Boise-Nampa metropolitan area saw an increase of about 400 construction, mining and logging jobs between February 2012 and February 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The 3-percent jump outstripped the statewide average increase of 2 percent. Idaho Falls was the only other metropolitan area in Idaho that had an increase, adding 200 jobs. The Pocatello and Coeur d’Alene areas saw decreases of 8 percent and 6 percent, respectively. Lewiston’s construction job market was unchanged.

Nationwide, the number of construction jobs ticked upward in 158 of 339 total metropolitan areas, according to an analysis by Associated General Contractors, a construction industry organization. The number decreased in 132 areas and stayed even in 49.

AGC warned that declining government construction and immigration reform limiting the availability of skilled workers could undermine the construction job market.

“While construction employment continues to decline in many parts of the country, the number of communities experiencing gains continues to expand,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “But the twin threats of additional public sector construction cuts and a looming shortage of certain types of construction workers could hurt the industry just as it is beginning to recover.”

Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2013/04/09/2527346/construction-employment-up-in.html#storylink=cpy

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Construction Jobs See Largest SIngle Month Gain in 6 Years

Posted by nahetsblog on April 9, 2013

The 5.802 million construction workers employed in March constituted an increase of 162,000 or 2.9 percent from a year ago and included many, but not all, nonresidential segments as well as residential construction, Simonson noted. Residential building and specialty trade contractors added 14,800 workers in the month and 77,800 (3.8 percent) over 12 months. Nonresidential building and specialty trade contractors, along with heavy and civil engineering construction firms, boosted employment by 3,000 in March and 84,400 (2.3 percent) since March 2012.

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Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 Heavy Equipment Operators

Posted by nahetsblog on April 3, 2013

Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 Heavy Equipment Operators

Heavy equipment operators from capitalized on the opportunity to practice using their heavy equipment at the Haramura training area near Hiroshima during Exercise Thunder Horse, March 17-22, 2013.

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -

The Marines practiced digging 14-foot trenches and individual fighting positions in an open field near the main campsite.

“The techniques from the training weren’t just meant for practice,” said Staff Sgt. Jose Camberos, MWSS-171 heavy equipment operations chief. “It gives the Marines an understanding of how their equipment works and the ways to move dirt. When the Marines leave the schoolhouse, they don’t get the opportunity to dig anti-tank ditches and fighting positions.”

Along with combat-oriented digging, Marines earned experience assisting others digging trenches around tents with backhoes instead of using entrenchment tools.

“Digging the trenches helped me to get a better feel for the backhoe,” said Lance Cpl. Austin Blodgett, MWSS-171 heavy equipment operator. “It added valuable stick time, which is when we get behind the controls and earn time practicing.”

With extended periods of rain throughout the training, mud and clay made operations more difficult for the Marines. It escalated to the point where even vehicles with all terrain tracks were getting stuck.

“Earth-moving is very specific when it comes to the material,” said
Camberos. “If the material is too dry, it will crumble away. If it’s too wet, vehicles tend to get stuck. We had the dozer get stuck, and that rarely happens.”

Aside from moving dirt and mud, Camberos also explained what his concept of the training was truly about.

“What I mainly look for when I train them in earth moving is the Marines understanding what they’re doing and not just moving dirt,” said Camberos. “If Marines don’t know the correct process for digging a fighting position, it would become a counterproductive process.”

With the Haramura training ground providing conditions for valuable teaching periods, the Marines leave not as experts, but more experienced in their profession.

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March 26, 2013

Posted by nahetsblog on March 27, 2013

Bay State construction employment up in January

By Thomas Grillo

Massachusetts added 1,800 construction jobs in January, up 2 percent compared to the same month a year ago, according to an analysis of federal employment data by the Associated General Contractors of America.

Haverhill, North Andover and Amesbury saw the biggest rise in construction employment with the addition of 600 jobs in January, or 18 percent more than one year ago. Boston, Cambridge and Quincy added 9 percent more jobs in January to 50,800, up from 46,400.

But the news was not good in every region of Massachusetts. Leominster, Fitchburg, Gardener, Lowell, Billerica, Chelmsford, New Bedford, Peabody, Pittsfield, Springfield and Worcester suffered job losses in the single digits, the report said.

Nationally, construction employment increased in 145 out of 339 metropolitan areas between January 2012 and January 2013, declined in 141 and was stagnant in 53, the survey said. AGC officials noted that after years of declining construction employment, contractors in some metro areas are beginning to worry about the availability of skilled workers now that they have resumed hiring.

“Not only are a slight plurality of metro areas adding construction jobs, but those areas appear to be adding jobs at a faster rate than places where construction employment continues to decline,” said Kenneth Simonson, the association’s chief economist, in a statement. “Considering the already released national construction employment figures for February, we are likely to see more metro areas adding jobs in the next report.”

Pascagoula, Miss. added the highest percentage of new construction jobs (45 percent, 1,500 jobs) followed by Brownsville-Harlingen, Texas (19 percent, 600 jobs); Cheyenne, Wyo. (19 percent, 500 jobs) and Haverhill-North Andover-Amesbury, Mass.-N.H. (18 percent, 600 jobs). Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas (10,100 jobs, 10 percent) added the most jobs. Other areas adding a large number of jobs included Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif. (9,600 jobs, 9 percent); Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas (8,700 jobs, 5 percent) and Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, Ariz. (6,000 jobs, 7 percent).

The largest job losses were in Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, Ill. (-3,500 jobs, -3 percent) and Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, Mich. (-3,500 jobs, -19 percent); followed by Northern Virginia (-3,200 jobs, -5 percent); and Charleston, W.V. (-2,900 jobs, -20 percent). Charleston, W.V. lost the highest percentage. Other areas experiencing large percentage declines in construction employment included Atlantic City-Hammonton, N.J. (-19 percent, -1,000 jobs); Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, Mich.; Kankakee-Bradley, Ill. (-18 percent, -200 jobs) and Akron, Ohio (-17 percent, -1,800 jobs).

Association officials noted that after years of declining construction employment, many former construction workers have left for other industries or retired. They added that the industry’s dire conditions have deterred many graduates from pursuing careers in construction and as a result, the industry is likely to face a shortage of available skilled workers in some parts of the country if the industry continues to add jobs.

Construction Employment Increases in 145 Metro Areas

Construction employment increased in 145 of 339 metropolitan areas between January 2012 and January 2013, according to analysis of federal data by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).

March 25, 2013

Construction employment increased in 145 of 339 metropolitan areas between January 2012 and January 2013, according to analysis of federal data by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). Employment declined in 141 areas and remained level in 53.

"Not only are a slight plurality of metro areas adding construction jobs, but those areas appear to be adding jobs at a faster rate than places where construction employment continues to decline," said Ken Simonson, AGC’s chief economist. "Considering the already-released national construction employment figures for February, we are likely to see more metro areas adding jobs in the next report."

Pascagoula, Miss. added the highest percentage of new construction jobs (45 percent, 1,500 jobs) followed by Brownsville-Harlingen, Texas (19 percent, 600 jobs); Cheyenne, Wyo. (19 percent, 500 jobs) and Haverhill-North Andover-Amesbury, Mass.-N.H. (18 percent, 600 jobs). Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas (10,100 jobs, 10 percent) added the most jobs. Other areas adding a large number of jobs included Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif. (9,600 jobs, 9 percent); Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas (8,700 jobs, 5 percent) and Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, Ariz. (6,000 jobs, 7 percent).

The largest job losses were in Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, Ill. (-3,500 jobs, -3 percent) and Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, Mich. (-3,500 jobs, -19 percent); followed by Northern Virginia (-3,200 jobs, -5 percent); and Charleston, W.V. (-2,900 jobs, -20 percent). Charleston, W.V. lost the highest percentage. Other areas experiencing large percentage declines in construction employment included Atlantic City-Hammonton, N.J. (-19 percent, -1,000 jobs); Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, Mich.; Kankakee-Bradley, Ill. (-18 percent, -200 jobs) and Akron, Ohio (-17 percent, -1,800 jobs).

AGC officials noted that after years of declining construction employment, many former construction workers have left for other industries or retired. They added that the industry’s dire conditions have deterred many graduates from pursuing careers in construction and as a result, the industry is likely to face a shortage of available skilled workers in some parts of the country if the industry continues to add jobs.

"Between the challenges of attracting new recruits and retaining out-of-work ones, there aren’t that many skilled workers waiting for a call-back in many parts of the country," said Stephen E. Sandherr, AGC’s CEO. "If the industry continues to add jobs, it won’t be long before contractors in some parts of the country are scrambling to find enough skilled workers to meet demand."

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Equipment Rental Cycles, Imact for Heavy Equipment Training?

Posted by nahetsblog on March 22, 2013

As the construction industry continues its slow recovery, some industry observers are pointing to a growing disconnect between machines that are sold at retail and machines that are rented. Generally, uncertainty has contractors renting more and buying less. But will they continue to do so after the economy rebounds?

The answer, say some experts, is yes. The recent upswing in equipment rentals provides some clues.

Rental rates and fleet age are two indicators. The increasing demand for short-term equipment acquisition has allowed rental companies to get away with charging contractors higher rental rates on older machines. In its fourth-quarter and full-year results, United Rentals Inc. reported that full-year rental revenue grew 13.2% in 2012, while rental rates tracked upward by 6.9%. It forecasts another uptick, at 4.5%, in rates this year.

Meanwhile, as rental rates have increased, the age of rental machines has, too. Rental fleets weathered the worst parts of the 2009-10 downturn by letting their machines get older, and fleets reached their high point at about 54 months. Rouse Asset Services, an appraiser that tracks daily fleet trends from the major rental companies, indicates in its February rental report that the average age of machines available to rent has since come down to about 48 months.

This is a notable change from the previous decade, when it was common for rental fleets to dump machines that were much younger, at around 36 months, says Gary McArdle, executive vice president and COO of Rouse.

"We have seen, over the last 10 years, the low side for fleet age was about the mid-30s," said McArdle on a March 12 conference call that J.P. Morgan hosted with investors. "I think what rental companies are realizing is that they can run a little bit more average age." McArdle predicts that, from now on, fleets will settle somewhere between 48 and 52 months.

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March 17,2013

Posted by nahetsblog on March 17, 2013

Campos: Caterpillar bowls for Kids’ Sake

By Johnny Campos

Next Sunday will mark the annual Caterpillar Day for the Big Brothers/Big Sisters Bowl for Kids’ Sake fundraiser.

There are already a few teams registered, including Zielinski’s High Rollers from my former group in Global Purchasing.

Last year, in our annual competition against another GP team, under Paul Chakraborty, the Zielinski squad was crushed in both fundraising and scoring.

I’m not sure if the Chakraborty group will have a team this year.

Last year, I struck on 22 of 24 shots (in a 9-pin, no-tap format) for Zielinski, but the rest of the group was woefully unprepared.

I won’t be on Zielinski’s team this year, but he has potentially a better unit. His team includes Matt Wiesner, who averages 225 at Mt. Hawley (owned by his dad, John). Greg Knapp, a former quarterback at Richwoods and Augustana, could probably post a high game or two for Zielinski. And Tim Miles, who also works for Zielinski, bowls every once in awhile with father-in-law Steve Estes, who has thrown a strike or two in his day (and is a Caterpillar employee).

Of course Chakraborty could bring in another ringer (a bowler not under his supervision was his best bowler last year).

If they don’t bowl, I hope they at least sponsor somebody who is participating.

BB/BS raised $105,000 last year, and is hoping to raise $125,000 this year.

And it’s for the kids.

PEPSI TIME: Speaking of kids, Vince Pollard Jr., representing Landmark Lanes, recently grabbed the top spot in the boys under-15 Zone 7 Pepsi USBC Youth Championships at Safai Bowl in Morton.

Pollard Jr. bowled games of 186, 245, 165 and 256 for an 852 scratch total — 45 pins better than Joshua Swope of Linn Lanes.

Also qualifying were Max Dakin of Digger’s College City Bowl and Kaine Sundquist of Northgate Lanes in Galesburg.

Other division qualifying were Linn’s Mason Scalf, Cooper Collins and Trenton Weaver, Landmark’s Jason Jones, Trent Sherlock and John Callear, and Plaza’s Jerime Gendron and Arthur Noffsinger.

In girls 15-under, qualifiers included Jessica Young of Linn Lanes and Kirstie Ramsey of Tenney Bowl.

Brooke Brown (Linn) qualified in girls under-20, while boys under-20 qualifiers included Linn bowlers Isaac Henderson, Kyle Anders and Boston Gillette, Norgate’s Blake Syron, Chilli Bowl’s Jordan Johnson, and Landmark’s Brandon Schmick.

Boys under-8 qualifiers were Jaidyn Hooker (Linn) and Landmark’s Preston Jones and Xavier Davis.

Girls under-8 qualifiers included winner Jessica Phegley of Plaza Lanes, and Tenney Bowl entries Nevyah and Mya Mirocha.

Michael Duytschaver of Tenney Bowl and Braden Gersich of Landmark qualified in boys 15-under.

Plaza bowlers Jeff McBride and Ryan Walker also made it, along with Landmark’s Alex Stauthammer, Braden Jones and Thomas McCarrick, Northgate’s Kaden Johnson and Jerze Syron, and Linn’s Brenen Seward.

Trinity Scott of Plaza Lanes won the girls under-12 division over Jordan Schmick of Landmark.

Landmark also had the 5-6-7 bowlers in the group in Kelsey Eslinger, Kylie Chase and Mackenzie Cleer.

Cassie Kirman of Chilli Bowl also advanced, included Madison Fisher of Digger’s College City Bowl and Kayla Roemer of Landmark.

NICE EFFORT: The Robert Morris-Peoria women’s bowling team finished seventh in the Allentown, Pa., sectional qualifier last weekend and did not advance to the national finals. The team missed out on a trip to the Intercollegiate Team Championships by just three spots.

RMU-Peoria finished the 64 Baker-style event with a pinfall total of 11,589 — 538 pins behind fourth-place qualifier Sacred Heart.

Webber Inernational, the defending women’s national champ, won the tournament.

The most surprising result from the sectionals was that perennial men’s title contender Wichita State failed to make the cut. WSU, winner of 10 men’s national titles, finished eighth in Las Vegas.

Caterpillar, Deere And Cummins: Which Is A Winning Bet For 2013?

When we talk about industrial construction, there are a few names which pop up instantly. Yes, I am indeed talking about Caterpillar Inc. (CAT), Deere & Co. (DE) and Cummins Inc. (CMI). The three industrial construction equipment manufacturers hold significant market share in the heavy machinery market, as well as farmland equipment. In this article, I will be analyzing their stock performance, past and the future. The three companies ply their trade in cyclical industries, where the demand for their products is dependent upon seasonal prices of crops or construction impetus encouraged by governments across the world. More importantly, in a slowing economy of lower prices, the eventual result for manufacturers is decreased cash receipts.

Stock Performance of this Triple

Deere is the world’s largest farmland equipment maker and in the first quarter of 2013, it posted an eleventh consecutive quarter of record earnings. However, such optimism was not reflected on the stock market amidst failure to meet expectations, nor was it supported by the weak sales, as the stock lost 3% on the announcement. Its competitor Caterpillar is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. The problem for CAT is China. For many years now, the company has not been successful as sales to China only represent 3% of their total revenue along with acquisition and operational blunders in that country. Last month, Cummins announced that its Q4 2012 net income decreased by almost 30.5%. Once seen as a clear cut favorite against its competitors, Cummins is now being increasingly ditched by investors in favor of alternatives.

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Good Time To Get Caterpillar, IBM And ETFs That Hold Them

David Trainer, Contributor

There are at least 32 different large cap blend ETFs and at least 214 ETFs across all styles. Those 32 large cap blend ETFs are very different. With anywhere from 52 to 990 holdings, many of these ETFs have drastically different portfolios, which creates drastically different investment implications.

ETFs in any style offer a very different mix of good and bad stocks. Some styles have lots of good stocks and offer lots of good ETFs. ETF labels do not tell you what kind of stocks you are getting in any given ETF.

The chart below shows my top rated ETF for each style. Importantly, my ratings on ETFs are based primarily on my stock ratings of their holdings.

Top Stocks Make Up Top ETFs

One of my favorite holdings in iShares Russell Top 200 Index Fund (IWL) is International Business Machines Corp (IBM), which gets my “very attractive” rating. IBM has an impressive track record of growth over long periods of time. Since 1998, it has grown after-tax profit (NOPAT) by 8% compounded annually.

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The last time IBM failed to grow NOPAT was in 2005. Despite this track record of growth, its valuation of ~$210/share gives it a price to economic book value ratio of only 1.0. This valuation implies that the company will never grow its profits from their current levels. A track record of profitability combined with a low valuation means an attractive risk/reward for investors. A heavy investment in IBM helps to explain why IWL gets my Attractive rating.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA), is the ETF with the most assets (~$10.4 billion) to get my attractive rating. Caterpillar (CAT) is one of my favorite stocks held by DIA and earns my very attractive rating. CAT has grown NOPAT by an impressive 23% compounded annually over the past decade. A close look at the balance sheet from its most recent Form 10K reveals even more to like. Whereas CAT had been bleeding reserves from 2009-2011, last year it increased reserves by nearly $400 million.

With such an impressive track record of growth, it is surprising that CAT is trading at only ~$91/share. Its no-growth value (i.e. economic book value) per share is $101. The current market valuation is predicting a permanent 10% decline in CAT’s profitability. High profitability combined with low market expectations is good news for holders of CAT, which includes, indirectly, investors in DIA.

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