The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, August 18, 2017

News Briefs

By The Building Tradesman

Construction jobs at nine-year high

Construction employment increased by 6,000 jobs in July to the highest level since October 2008, amid a tight labor market that may be keeping contractors from hiring as many workers as they need, according to an analysis of new government data released Aug. 4 by the Associated General Contractors of America. 

“Construction firms added employees over the past year at a much higher rate than the public and private sectors as a whole, but the low unemployment rates in construction and the overall economy suggests contractors are having difficulty filling positions,” said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist. “Although construction spending has slowed, many contractors are still looking for qualified craft workers and project managers.”

Construction employment totaled 6,899,000 in July, a gain of 6,000 for the month and 191,000, or 2.8 percent, over 12 months. Simonson said that the year-over-year growth rate was nearly twice the 1.5 percent rise in the rest of the economy's total nonfarm payroll employment. Although, the construction sector’s unemployment rate in July, 4.9 percent, was a bit higher than the 4.3 percent rate for all workers.

Average hourly wages in the industry climbed to $28.90, an increase of 2.4 percent from a year earlier.

AGC officials urged local, state and federal leaders to enact measures designed to expose more high school students to high-paying careers in construction to offset growing labor shortages.

“It is time to stop signaling to students that their only path to success is paying for four years of college and hoping to land a rewarding office job,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Our educational systems should be exposing more students to the fact our modern economy offers many different paths to successful and rewarding careers, including construction.”

Painters' Anderson donates to 'Warriors'

Many thanks to Keith Anderson, business representative of Painters District Council 1M, who won the 50-50 drawing at the Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council's 51st Convention on Aug. 10 - then donated his winnings, about $500, to the Wounded and Returning Warriors Project.

The project provides financial assistance to military veterans who are in a financial bind. Gary Tanner of the Warriors project made a presentation at the conference. For more information, go to, and look under the "Troop Support" button. "Obviously a great cause, and I hope others will do what they can to help them out," Anderson said.

Roofers Bodnariuk passes at age 84

Alex Bodnariuk, a former Roofers Local 149 business manager and International Vice President, passed away Aug. 5, 2017. He was 84.

He is survived by wife Dolores, and children Alex (Marianne) Bodnariuk, and Andrew (Cheryl) Bodnariuk. He is also a grandfather survived by many family members and friends. Funeral services were held by the D.S. Temrowski & Sons Funeral Home, 30009 Hoover Road at Common in Warren.

Mr. Bodnariuk served as the Roofers and Waterproofers first international vice president for about two decades after he retired as business manager in 1987. He also founded the Local 148 Retirees Club.

"Even when he was an international vice president, Local 149 was always at the forefront of his thoughts," said current Local 149 Business Manager Mark Peterson. "He was always looking out for the betterment of the membership. He was a good man, and he will be missed."