Construction materials stakeholders champion Transportation Secretary Chao

Sources: Portland Cement Association, Skokie, Ill.; National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association, Washington, D.C.; CP staff

The U.S. Senate’s January 31 confirmation of Elaine Chao as Secretary of Transportation, by a 93-6 vote, drew enthusiastic response from the two groups representing concrete producers’ principal suppliers.

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U.S. Green Building Council names leading states for LEED projects

Sources: U.S. Green Building Council, Washington, D.C.; CP staff

With 136 projects representing 3.73 square feet of certified space per resident, Massachusetts heads the new Top 10 States for LEED, the U.S. Green Building Council’s annual ranking of states showing significant strides in sustainable building design, construction and transformation.

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ACI releases 2017 Manual of Concrete Practice

Source: American Concrete Institute, Farmington Hills, MI

The new ACI Manual of Concrete Practice contains more than 250 documents, and represents the most comprehensive and largest single source of concrete engineering and construction insight available in one set. The Manual contains all of the ACI documents needed to address code requirements, specifications, tolerances, concrete proportions, construction methods, and evaluation of test results—to name a few topics.

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Manufacturing, utility, energy sectors temper 2016 construction start figures

Sources: Dodge Data & Analytics, New York; CP staff

Total 2016 construction starts advanced 1 percent to $676.5 billion, a considerably smaller gain than the 11 percent increase reported for 2015, according to Dodge Data & Analytics. If the volatile manufacturing and electric utility/gas plant categories are excluded, last year’s total construction starts would be up 4 percent, depicting a more gradual deceleration relative to the corresponding 9 percent year-over-year increase in 2015.

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Lanxess takes world view of iron oxide pigment production, supply

Sources: Lanxess AG, Cologne, Germany; CP staff

Under a “Trusted partnerships for sustainable growth” theme, the third Lanxess Pigments Symposium took place in Las Vegas as a lead in to the World of Concrete 2017, and provided 100-plus affiliates from around the globe a platform to discuss industry challenges.

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Multiemployer Pension law frees union local to cut plan benefits, avert fund insolvency

Sources: U.S. Treasury Department; Iron Workers Local 17, Cleveland; CP staff

The Treasury Department has certified the results of an election in which Iron Workers Local 17 Pension Fund participants approved benefit cuts, effective February 1, to avoid fund insolvency in 2024. Votes were cast 2 to 1 for a plan reducing accrued benefits and eliminating early retirement subsidies plus extra benefit credits.

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Union membership rate slides more

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS); CP staff

The level of wage and salary workers who were members of unions, hence the union membership rate, was 10.7 percent in 2016, down 0.4 percent from 2015. BLS Current Population Survey findings show the number of unionized wage and salary workers declined 240,000 last year, to 14.6 million. BLS cites among other 2016 data highlights:

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