The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, October 10, 2014

News Briefs

By The Building Tradesman



U.S. construction rises 5% this year

U.S. construction spending climbed to $961 billion from $915.3 billion between August 2013 and August 2014, a 5 percent increase, according to federal data also released Oct. 1.

Meanwhile, construction employers added 16,000 jobs and the sector’s unemployment rate fell to 7 percent, the lowest rate for September in years, according to an analysis the AGC released Oct. 3 by the Associated General Contractors of America.

“Even as construction employment continues to rebound in many parts of the country, other areas continue to lose ground, or like Phoenix, backslide,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Similarly, while construction spending has been increasing overall in the past year, the gains remain uneven. The industry appears likely to experience very mixed results by segment and region for the rest of 2014 and into next year.”

Association officials said the construction employment gains come as more firms report having a hard time finding enough qualified workers to fill available positions, citing the lack of local vocational training programs, especially at the secondary level.

“While we are eager to see even more construction employment gains, there is no denying the fact that the industry has been in recovery mode for much of the past three years,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “But the industry won’t be able to keep filling positions if there aren’t enough qualified workers available to fill them.”

Construction employment totaled 6,079,000 in September , the highest total since May 2009, with a 12-month gain of 230,000 jobs, or 3.9 percent.

Construction employment expanded in 220 U.S. metro areas, declined in 73 and was stagnant in 46 between August 2013 and August 2014. For the second time this year, Monroe, Michigan (+27 percent, +600 jobs) had the highest percentage gain of construction jobs in the nation over the past year. Ann Arbor, up 8 percent (#8), and the Flint area, up 14 percent (#14), were other construction hotbeds in Michigan ranked highly in August.

 

Meet the candidates night set for Oct. 28

A meet-the-candidates night will be held beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 28 at the Retail Clerks Hall, 876 Horace Brown Dr. in  Madison Heights. The hall is south of 13 Mile between I-75 and John R. The event will be co-hosted by Sheet Metal Workers Local 80 and Plumbers Local 98. All trades workers are welcome.

Hear their stand on current issues and be an informed voter. Refreshments will be served. Questions? Call Local 80 at (248) 557-7575.