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Budget hawks on Capitol Hill are scrutinizing wasteful mechanisms in surface transportation construction against the backdrop of President Donald Trump’s infrastructure investment plant. One of the easiest targets for stretching dollars from an expanded highway and bridge funding pool was noted here last month: A lifting of Barack Obama’s executive order fostering the use of wage-inflating project labor agreements on higher ticket federal construction contracts.

A late-January Associated Builders & Contractors study indicated how construction unemployment rates through the end of last year sustained a downward trend dating to 2010. “The ongoing year-over-year decline in the national unemployment rate is an indication of the health of the construction job market and its recovery from the deep recession,” explained economist Bernard Markstein, Ph.D., who analyzed U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics December 2016 data for ABC. “However, the shortage of skilled construction workers is hindering the ability of the sector to grow, with more than 80 percent of Associated Builders and Contractors members reporting a shortage of appropriately skilled labor.”