The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, April 03, 2015

News Briefs

By The Building Tradesman

Big leap for state's construction jobs

Construction employment in Michigan started this year with a substantial leap from 12 months prior, advancing 9.6 percent in January 2015 compared to January 2014. Michigan soared to No. 6 among the states in construction employment gains - there were 13,200 more workers employed in the industry in January compared to a year ago.

The numbers were released March 17 by the Associated General Contractors of America.

"Most of the country experienced a welcome rebound in construction employment last year," said Ken Simonson, the AGC's chief economist. "Yet it is unclear how public sector demand and new regulatory requirements will overshadow relatively robust private-sector demand."

North Dakota (+13.4 percent, 4,300 jobs) added the highest percentage of new construction jobs during the past year, followed by Idaho (12.7 percent, 4,400 jobs), Washington and Colorado (9.8 percent, 13,500 jobs). Texas added more new construction jobs (49,600 jobs, 7.9 percent) during that year.

Only seven states shed construction jobs during the past 12 months. Mississippi lost the highest percentage and total number of jobs (-6,600 jobs, -12.7 percent). Other states that lost a high number of jobs include Indiana (-1,900 jobs, -1.6 percent) and West Virginia (-700 jobs, -2.1 percent),

A "host of new regulations" that could come out of the Obama Administration during the remainder of his term, coupled with Washington's seeming inability to find ways to fund aging road, bridge and other infrastructure repairs, could threaten future employment gains, the AGC said.

"If Congress and the Obama administration are serious about wanting to help the middle class, they will need to find a way to fund infrastructure investments over the long term," said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association's chief executive officer. "And the administration needs to stop trying to impose its failed legislative agenda via regulatory fiat."

Michigan AFL-CIO say 'yes' on Prop. 1

LANSING – The Michigan AFL-CIO on March 16 formally endorsed the Safe Roads Yes campaign. State AFL-CIO President Karla Swift said that Proposal 1 “is a critical initiative that will make our roads safer and create thousands of good middle class jobs for Michigan families.”

Proposal 1, on the May 5 ballot, ups the state sales from 6 cents to 7 cents on the dollar, but will yield an additional $1.3 billion per year in new road repair money. Passage of the ballot issue will also provide more money for the school aid fund, hike the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) from six percent to 20 percent, and increase revenue sharing with local governments.

“While we haven’t always agreed with the governor’s administration, this is an issue where it’s easy to find common ground, because our affiliates believe everyone benefits from safer roads," Swift said. "Moving forward, the Michigan AFL-CIO will work to educate voters across the state about why they should vote Yes on Proposal 1.”