Construction Industry interests salute Environmental Policy Act streamlining

The Portland Cement Association and National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association are among 35 members of Unlocking American Investment, a new U.S. Chamber of Commerce-led coalition supporting National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) revisions that will help cut typical infrastructure project permitting phases by more than 50 percent against current metrics.

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AGC confirms industry headcount at 10-year high

Sources: Associated General Contractors of America, Washington, D.C.; CP staff

Construction employment increased by 13,000 in June and 282,000 over the past year, bringing the total industry payroll to 7.22 million—its highest level since May 2008. “The construction industry continues to add workers faster than the economy as a whole, and is paying premium wages to attract and retain [them],” affirms AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson. “Employment gains are occurring in both residential and nonresidential construction. However, the industry is having to rely more on workers without construction experience, as the pool of unemployed construction workers has nearly evaporated.”

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Contractors paint dire jobs, cost consequences in steel, aluminum tariff aftermath

Sources: Associated General Contractors of America, Washington, D.C.; CP staff

Responding to President Donald Trump’s March 8 order applying respective 25 percent and 10 percent tariffs to steel and aluminum imports from countries outside the NAFTA region, AGC CEO Stephen Sandherr noted: “These tariffs will cause significant harm to the nation’s construction industry, put tens of thousands of high-paying construction jobs at risk, undermine the President’s proposed infrastructure initiative and potentially dampen demand for new construction.

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NPCA cites domestic steel pricing, capacity concerns with Trump tariffs

Sources: National Precast Concrete Association, Carmel, Ind.; CP staff

Tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel that President Donald Trump announced this month would negatively impact the precast concrete industry, according to National Precast Concrete Association President Ty Gable. “When you impose high tariffs, two major things happen,” he says. “The price of domestic steel goes through the roof. Second, there is a capacity problem and [producers] have difficulty getting their materials on time.”

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Building Material Plant Day participants measure global market’s mixed signals

Sources: German Engineering Federation (VDMA), Frankfurt

German manufacturers of concrete and other building material plants are expecting a broadly based boost this year, carrying momentum from a year-over-year spike most sectors saw at the end of 2016. “This should translate into sales growth over the next few months,” said Sebastian Popp, economic expert on machinery and equipment at Building Material Plants Day, an annual VDMA gathering in Frankfurt for companies serving concrete, dry mortar, aggregate, cement, lime and gypsum producers.

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Contractors secure three-month delay in OSHA silica rule enforcement

Sources: Occupational Safety and Health Administration; Mason Contractors Association of America, Algonquin, Ill.; CP staff

OSHA has moved the target for the construction industry to comply with the revised respirable crystalline silica exposure standard from June 23 to September 23, citing a need to conduct additional outreach and provide educational materials and guidance due to the unique nature of employer requirements.

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Treasury Department: Construction industry shoulders top tax rate

Source: Associated Builders & Contractors, Washington, D.C.

A U.S. Department of the Treasury analysis confirms that a typical construction company faces an average effective federal tax burden of 30.3 percent against the 23.3 percent average for all U.S. businesses. The industry likewise pays the highest effective tax rate—the percent of income businesses actually pay in taxes—of any sector of the economy.

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Economists bullish on commercial and industrial work

DBIA officials cite the inherent value design-build methods bring to projects across the construction sectors, including transportation. The Institute honored the Yadkin River Bridge—a 2,900-ft., twin structure along the Interstate 85, Charlotte–Greensboro, N.C., corridor—with a 2014 National Award of Merit. Flatiron Construction Corp. led the design-build team credited with delivering the North Carolina Department of Transportation project under its $136 million budget.

“A combination of low interest rates; wealth effects stemming from a booming stock market and rising home prices; surging energy production; and expanding industrial output has helped position the U.S. economy for more rapid growth during the next several quarters,” says Associated Builders and Contractors Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “This will lead to more robust recovery in the U.S. nonresidential construction industry, which has also been aided by stable materials prices and improving commercial real estate fundamentals.”

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Spot labor shortages surface as construction unemployment figures slide

Sources: Associated General Contractors of America, Washington, D.C.; CP staff

Sustaining momentum from April and May, construction employers added 6,000 workers to payrolls in June as the industry’s unemployment rate dropped to 8.2 percent, its lowest level for the month in six years, according to an AGC analysis of new government data.

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Top A/E/C groups pinpoint resilient-project planning, materials

Top A/E/C groups pinpoint resilient-project planning, materials

Design and construction industry leaders, along with building owners and operators, have pledged to promote resilience in contemporary planning, building materials, design, construction and operational techniques as the solution to making the nation’s aging infrastructure more safe and secure.

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