The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, October 27, 2017

News Briefs

By The Building Tradesman



Raise Mexican pay in new NAFTA: UAW

As trade negotiators from U.S., Mexico, and Canada met last week in Washington D.C. to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement, "they must squarely confront the reality that NAFTA has failed working people in all three countries," said UAW President Dennis Williams. "NAFTA renegotiations will only be successful if it leads to higher wages for workers in all three countries and puts an end to our crippling auto trade deficit with Mexico."

NAFTA took effect on Jan. 1, 1994. Since 1993, the UAW said the United States' automotive vehicle trade deficit with Mexico moved from $3.5 billion to $45.1 billion in 2016. For auto parts, the United States’ deficit with Mexico was $100 million in 1993; it was 200 times larger by 2016, at $23.8 billion.

Despite healthy industry profits, Mexican autoworkers make an average of $3 per hour or less. The UAW said labor standards continue to be "dismal" south of the border, since Mexican workers are prevented from exercising their rights and bargaining for better wages and working conditions.

"No amount of spin by corporate lobbyists representing companies who outsource can change the facts on what has happened to workers as a result of NAFTA," Williams said. "Countless manufacturing plants throughout our country have closed and hundreds of thousands of good jobs to Mexico have vanished."


Architectural billings dip; industry healthy

The Architectural Billings Index, which is a forerunner of construction forecasts, experienced a hiccup last month after seven months of steady growth.

The ABI reflects an approximate nine to twelve month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the September ABI score was 49.1, down from a score of 53.7 in the previous month. This score reflects a slight decrease in design services provided by U.S. architecture firms.

“We’ve seen unexpectedly strong numbers in design activity for most of 2017, so the pause in September should be viewed in that context,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker. “Project inquiries and new design contracts remain healthy, and the continued strength in most sectors and regions indicates stability industry-wide.”

The monthly ABI index scores are centered around 50, with scores above 50 indicating an aggregate increase in billings, and scores below 50 indicating a decline.

The Architectural Billings Index, which is a forerunner of construction forecasts, experienced a hiccup last month after seven months of steady growth.

The ABI reflects an approximate nine to twelve month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the September ABI score was 49.1, down from a score of 53.7 in the previous month. This score reflects a slight decrease in design services provided by U.S. architecture firms.

“We’ve seen unexpectedly strong numbers in design activity for most of 2017, so the pause in September should be viewed in that context,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker. “Project inquiries and new design contracts remain healthy, and the continued strength in most sectors and regions indicates stability industry-wide.”

The monthly ABI index scores are centered around 50, with scores above 50 indicating an aggregate increase in billings, and scores below 50 indicating a decline.