The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, July 15, 2011


By The Building Tradesman

U.S. employment situation: lousy


Another poor jobs report for the general economy, and another downer for construction in particular.

The Economic Policy Institute on July 8 called the nation’s employment numbers that were released that day a symptom of “a market in retreat.”

Virtually every single measure was devastatingly weak,” said EPI economist Heidi Shierholz. “Only 18,000 payroll jobs were added, average hours declined, nominal wages fell, unemployment was up in almost all age groups, over a quarter of a million workers dropped out of the labor force altogether, and the public sector continued to bleed jobs.

“Furthermore, a downward revision to last month’s data means that this is the second month in a row with job growth at 25,000 or less. This is a remarkable, across-the-board backslide. The President and Congressional leaders need to stop talking about deficit reduction and start talking about job creation.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that a paltry 8,000 jobs were created in in June (more than 105,000 were forecast) and the unemployment rate rose to 9.2 percent from 9.1 percent.

In the U.S. construction industry, the unemployment rate in June 2011 was down to 15.6 percent from 20.1 percent 12 months earlier. But that’s about the only positive statistic to report. From May to June 2011, 9,000 construction jobs were lost.

 “Even with the drop in the industry unemployment rate, the lack of hiring means that people are leaving construction, not going back into it,” said Associated General Contractors Chief Economist Ken Simonson. “That will make future expansion all the more difficult.”

AGC officials said that declines in public sector construction activity will negate any pickup in private sector demand unless Congress and states promptly and fully fund needed infrastructure spending and streamline the approval process for public projects.

“In the second half of 2011, there should be a strong gain in apartment and manufacturing construction; some improvement in construction of hospitals, distribution centers and hotel renovations; and ongoing strength in power and energy projects,” Simonson predicted. “But job creation in these niches may be swamped by further declines in public construction and continued weakness in single-family homebuilding, office and retail work.”


Poker Run for bikers set forAug. 27

The “Tim Haggart Memorial Poker Run” for motorcyclists will be held Saturday, Aug. 27, starting at the Plumbers and Pipe Fitters Local 333 union hall.

The event will be held in honor of the late Local 333 Business Manager Tim Haggart. A pre-registration form is available from Local 333 offices. The deadline for registration is Aug. 1.

The cost is $30 per solo rider or $45 for two riders on one bike.

The ride starts at Local 333’s hall, 5405 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Lansing, MI 48911. It will include five stops. Call (517) 393-5480 to have a form mailed to you. Or, stop in at the Local 333 union halls in Lansing, Battle Creek or Jackson.