Equipment forecast paints stable picture for construction

Federal fiscal stimulus has played a pivotal role in helping the U.S. economy recover from 2020 jolts, according to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. Over the next couple of years, the Milwaukee group and economic consultants see additional proposals ushering much potential for the construction industry. “We’ve included the American Jobs Plan (AJP) in our forecast,” says Mark Killion, director…

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Labor Department promotes registered apprenticeships

The U.S. Department of Labor will mark 2021 National Apprenticeship Week November 15-21. The event allows labor and business leaders, educational institutions, career seekers and other partners to demonstrate support for apprenticeships in preparing a highly skilled, diverse workforce to meet the talent needs of employers and train Americans for good-paying jobs across multiple industries. “Registered apprenticeships provide a path…

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The Direction Of Interest Rates: I Stand Corrected

Last month, I wrote about how the Fed may start tapering the stimulus it has injected into the economy, drastically increasing liquidity against the eruption of the pandemic and the sudden recession it thrust upon the global economy, and the U.S. in particular. While the general tapering of the Fed stimulus won’t have any real impact on our daily business…

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The Economic Fun Is Here – Will Delta Derail It?

Various reports from our industry press mark a jump in ready mixed concrete production in April, which is just a thumbnail indicator of the health of the overall economy. Production was estimated at 35.6 million cubic yards, an astonishing 20 percent higher than in April 2020. Moreover, the estimated production nationally through April is 114.3 million cubic yards, approximately 6.8…

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Equipment Distributors clarify “right to repair” distortions

An expansive White House order issued under the banner of “promoting competition in the American economy” presents 72 initiatives for more than a dozen federal agencies, including the Federal Trade Commission, which is encouraged to limit “equipment manufacturers from restricting people’s ability to use independent repair shops.” The order instructs the FTC chairman to consider working with colleagues to exercise…

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Eagle Materials earns last laugh on Monday morning quarterback

Two years ago we saw Dallas-based Eagle Materials Inc., slightly reeling from a fracking sand production play, heed an activist investor’s proposal for a Light Materials (wallboard, paperboard) and Heavy Materials (cement, aggregates, concrete) business split. The action had the aura of an opportunistic New Yorker swaggering into Texas to shed light on running a construction materials business.  Eagle Materials…

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Lead economist tracks pandemic’s waning effects on construction

Sources: Associated Builders & Contractors, Washington, D.C.; CP staff An Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the construction industry added 110,000 jobs in March, bringing to 931,000 the number gained since April 2020, or nearly 84 percent of those jobs lost during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic. The construction unemployment rate…

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PCA projects minor 2020-21 shipment drops, or gain, under two recovery models

Sources: Portland Cement Association, Skokie, Ill.; CP staff

Portland Cement Association Chief Economist and Senior Vice President Ed Sullivan offers two U.S. cement consumption scenarios around “U” or “W” shaped economic recovery curves, with respective 2020 and 2021 figures of -3.4 percent or +1.7 percent and -4.8 percent and -2.7 percent—this year’s projections measured against 2019 shipments.

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