March saw construction employment numbers increase in 30 states according to AGC - most of it in the residential market while infrastructure and public building projects continue soft.
The Northeast saw the biggest expansion, a likely result of Hurricane Sandy rebuilding, while Florida and Arkansas also saw growth. Meanwhile, the National Association for Business Economics is posting results of a new poll that indicates 40% of businesses plan increased hiring in the next six months.
Caterpillar is facing a challenge as a result of soft mining equipment sales. First quarter results show a decline of some 50% in the segment and is causing the company to revise the 2013 revenue outlook downward, largely due to its acquisition last year of Bucyrus Erie.
AARTBA claims the value of U.S. transportation projects amount to 2.25% of GDP, or $354 billion annually. That's larger than the GDP of 153 world nations.
AARTBA has developed an online map of economic study, the work of Dr. Allison Premo Black, at the website www.transportationcreatesjobs.org.
The latest Gallop poll claims two-thirds of Americans would vote against a 20 cent per gallon gas tax for infrastructure. Broken down by region, taxpayers in the Midwest and South are particularly opposed while eastern and western state residents are more likely to approve the idea. Seventeen states have recently approved or are considering gas tax increase.
Now, tie that Gallop poll result with the latest survey by AAA, the American Automobile Association. It claims driving costs for the average U.S. commuter is more than $9,100 annually - 61 cents per mile for a sedan owner and 77 cents a mile for SUV owners. That includes insurance, repairs, tires, gas and the cost of ownership and based on 15,000 miles driven in a year. It's pretty obvious that nearly everyone supports highway and infrastructure improvements, but nobody wants to pay for them.
Continuing on this "rubber meets the road" theme, the National Asphalt Pavement Association in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration reporsts recent sustainable construction practices have saved taxpayers over $2 billion - mostly the result of energy saving warm mix technologies and expanded reclaimed materials.
The use of RAP and RAS resulted in a saving of 21 million barrels of liquid binder in 2011.
We bet you didn't know that there is s research project underway at the Lawrence Berkeley Labs in California. Along with the heat island group various types of colors and shades of asphalt are being used to determine their coolness as it relates to air temperatures and air quality. Benjamin Mandel says the results are very interesting.
Conventional asphalt has only a 5% reflectance while the project's bing tested range from 30% to 50% reflectance.
Central Iowa is becoming a hub of social networking. Facebook says it will build three buildings each with 500,000 square feet of data center at Altoona, Iowa, a Des Moines suburb, later this year. An area with access for wind power, the site joins those of Microsoft and Google already operating.
In closing, if you think you're too small to be effective you have never been in a dark room with a mosquito.
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