[VIDEO] Long-term Highway Funding One Step Closer

The House approved a 6-year infrastructure funding measure by a vote of 363-64; plus more construction industry news on the November 12, 2015, edition of Construction News Tracker

Six-year highway bill a reality...

Construction spending on a roll...

And a change of command at Terex...

That and more on Construction News Tracker presented by Caterpillar.

By a vote of 363-64 on November 5, the House of Representatives approved a six-year national infrastructure funding measure. The stunning approval, which overcame a parade of 35 short-term extensions, is a new sign of bipartisanship emerging with the election of Congressman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., as Speaker. The bill seeks $325 billion; of that, $261 billion is destined for highways and $55 billion for mass transit. AGC in its response says the challenge is to locate funding.

The House bill must be reconciled with one from the Senate by conference committee and placed on the President's desk by November 20.

Outpacing forecasts, the nation added 271,000 jobs in October. Construction employment rose by 31,000 and expands the yearly total to 233,000.

Construction Unemployment Drops to 6.2% in October

Associated Builders and Contractors Chief Economist Anirban Basu says the October expansion shows the monthly hike added the most jobs than the previous four months combined, and is particularly impressive given all the fits and starts sustained by contractors — a good sign that workers are returning to the construction field.

Construction Industry Leads All Sectors in Percentage Job Gains in October

Meanwhile, construction spending is on a roll in the U.S. The Commerce Department stats just released show spending rose six-tenths of a percent in September to an annual rate of $1.09 trillion.

Construction Spending Reaches 7-year High

Breaking down the numbers:

  • Apartment construction is up 4.9%
  • Single-family home building rose 1.3%
  • Schools and related building increased 2.4%
  • Water-related facility building jumped 4.8%

Overall, residential construction is at its highest level since January of 2008 and is peaking now at four times the average of the overall economy.

The Commerce report is echoed by the latest from Dodge Data. A long-term construction industry barometer, the 2016 outlook predicts a 6% rise in construction starts to 712 billion. Residential building is seen as the leader with 16% growth next year and nonresidential up 9%.

Unfortunately, the Dodge data sees non building construction off 14% in 2016. When deleting energy plant projects, however, non building starts would rise 10%. Overall, most sectors are upbeat about 2016.

Forget any chance for a Keystone Pipeline construction project. The President, citing increased need for climate changed, vetoed the much discussed 1,179-mile line between Canada and the Gulf states.

Keystone may be down, but it's not out as supporters are certain to regroup for another push after the next presidential election.

Thirty-nine infrastructure programs across 34 states have been awarded Federal DOT TIGER Grants amounting to $500 million. Six-hundred-twenty-nine applications were reviewed, showing the popularity among states for the money. The TIGER Grant program was started in 2009 as an economic stimulus to fund transportation intended to have a major impact on the region.

A leading figure in construction, Terex CEO Ron De Feo has announced his retirement after nearly 24 years at the helm. During a recent interview, Mr. De Feo was asked about disruptive influences on the industry...

Terex manufactures heavy equipment ranging from cranes to work platforms and material handling. De Feo will be replaced as Terex CEO by John Garrison, recently head of Textron.

Labor demand in the Denver area is about to explode as the Gaylord Rockies Resort begins construction. Upwards of 10,000 construction workers will be needed on site for the 1,500 room hotel and convention center as construction beings soon.

The site is located in Aurora, Colo., near the Denver International Airport and is funded by nine banks and $850 million.

Westinghouse recently acquired Chicago Bridge and Iron's nuclear construction division, and the result is a major change in on-going construction projects. As a result, Westinghouse has selected Flour Corporation to manage projects. They include the Plant Vogtle 3 and 4 units in Georgia and the V.C. Summer nuclear plant in South Carolina.

Georgia alone projects a population increase of 1.5 million by 2025 while demand for energy in the nation's southeast is expected to expand by 27%.

Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4 are the first new nuclear projects built in the U.S. in 30 years. They are expected to be online by 2019.

Wrapping up this edition, learn from yesterday; live for today; and hope for tomorrow.

This is Construction News Tracker brought to you by Caterpillar and produced by ForConstructionPros.com.

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