Building permit delays causing havoc...
A floor report from The Work Truck Show...
And the jobless and unemployed problem outlined...
That and more on Construction News Tracker presented by Caterpillar.
Having trouble obtaining building permits? You're not alone. The National Association of Home Builders reports the time frame for permit issuance has nearly doubled from four months average turnaround in 2011 to seven months in 2015. And it's not a progressive sign for developers. With nearly one million apartments awaiting development in the next three years the permit backlog is creating a large inventory shortage and contributing to the reduction in workers needed to help build much needed construction.
Nineteen-thousand construction jobs were added to payrolls in February putting the number of unemployed at at its lowest level in 16 years. Construction employment is robust at this time according to AGC, though there is roughly 749,000 that remain unemployed.
And that prompts the next story: the labor force participation rate. It's an analytic barometer used by economists. Construction is not the only major industry facing substantial problems in finding workers. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that 66% of those able to work had jobs on the eve of the recession. Last fall the rate fell to 62.4% and a sign joblessness may be in worse shape then unemployment numbers outline.
However, robust economic growth is pressing a powerful force on the business cycle causing more jobs to open up and the unemployment rate to stay at or below 5%. As a result, the agency reports that as of February 77.8% of those in their prime working years of 25 to 54 had jobs while a meager 6.3% of the 94 million unemployed were actively looking. One of the major factors appears to be the aging workforce near retirement with few baby boomers in line to take over those jobs.
The National Truck Equipment Association held its annual Work Truck Show recently, and our Senior Field Editor of Equipment Today, Curt Bennink, has the latest from the show floor.
What could become a massive nationwide construction effort is being played out right now in Flint, Mich. Lead poisoning in water service lines has created multiple lawsuits in that city and others as well. Corrosive water has created lead soldering to erode which raises the lead level in the water source resulting in severe health issues.
Fitch Rating Service has outlined the breadth of the issue citing the nation's aging water infrastructure and arrived at a total U.S. cost of $300 billion. The worsening situation has resulted in 150 of the nation's mayors calling for action by the federal government to address crumbling infrastructure.
Premature demolition appears to be the best way to describe a near fatal project recently near Houston, Texas. The Cherry Companies was contracted to demolish a five-story parking structure when suddenly the near wall began to collapse as two excavators were working on the site.
Massive falling debris miraculously missed both machine operators who managed to walk away with only cuts and bruises.
Cherry is the same firm that demolished the former Astrodome's columns and ramps without incident. Why the parking garage wall came apart as it did is a mystery at this point.
In closing, there are no traffic jams when you go the extra mile.
This is Construction News Tracker looking over the industry that makes the world a better place, presented by Caterpillar and produced by ForConstructionPros.com.