[VIDEO] Construction Continues to Drive US Economy

The construction industry accounted for nearly 18% of the new jobs added in March as skilled laborers are still in need; plus more industry news on the April 14, 2016, edition of Construction News Tracker

Construction News Tracker is present by Caterpillar and produced by ForConstructionPros.com.

Continued improvement in the labor market for March as 215,000 new jobs were added to payrolls nationwide. Construction jobs alone swelled by 37,000, and according to AGC 301,000 folks have joined the ranks in the last year. In fact, the number of unfilled construction jobs went from a seasonally adjusted basis of 157,000 in January to 193,000 in February, and contractors are pleading for skilled workers to join them.

A new ranking just out by Forbes surveys major industries and places John Deere in the 19th position of all U.S. manufacturers. Forbes annually ranks the top 500 companies that employ over 5,000. The top five employers on their list for 2016 were:

  • Marathon Petroleum
  • Google
  • Costco Wholesale
  • Wegmans Markets
  • USAA Insurance

Industry leaders are letting the Feds know they will have to tread lightly when it comes to enforcing new silica dust rules recently imposed. Eight national construction industry groups including AGC, ARTBA and ABC have filed a petition with the U.S. Court of Appeals seeking review of the harsh exposure limits to be slashed by 80%. Industry leaders say these new Fed levels are unworkable and unachievable.

This past weekend was festival time on the world's longest floating bridge in Washington state. The occasion marked the "Go Long" significance of the 7,700-foot span created to replace the old Highway 520 bridge. With 23 jumbo pontoons the novel span expands drive lanes from two to four and is suspended at a higher level from the water, thus more resilient to wind gusts and rolling waves.

Costs have ballooned to some $4.6 billion. It's a milestone to be remembered.

It's springtime, and that means more orange safety barrels; lots of them. States are lining up to tackle road and infrastructure projects, and we wanted to take the opportunity to point out just a few.


$9.7 billion infrastructure plan was approved to give the state DOT the capability to raise fees, fuel taxes and other monetary means over the next five years. When all is said and done, 400 road and bridge projects totaling some $6.8 billion will be covered.


Substantial is the best way to rate Indiana's 2016 highway building program. The DOT has $850 million to spend on 770 road and bridge projects this calendar year. Overall, the Hoosier state is poised to spend $1 billion in the next four years on infrastructure without a tax increase but with a host of new fees imposed on other items such as electric and hybrid vehicles.


1,100 projects are on the books for this year costing some $2.1 billion. Much of the work is centered on central Ohio where there is interchange redesign, resurfacing and bridge replacement jobs on the books.


A hike in the gas tax for the first time in 27 years is being pushed by the governor who claims he wants to remove a $6 billion transportation project backlog. So far, Tennessee DOT has managed to get $2 billion to cover 94 projects statewide over the next three years.



The Peach State is embarking on a 10-year, $10 billion infrastructure improvement plan approved by lawmakers in the 2015 session.

North Carolina

The state has voted to borrow $2 billion to pay for a laundry list of projects, mostly for its university system with much less earmarked for roads and bridges.

As other states approve funding measures we'll let you know.

A federal spy agency is set to spend nearly a billion dollars on a new satellite intelligence facility at St. Louis, MO. It's for the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, which is replacing an aging structure in the area. In addition to the new buildings, NGA claims it will spend another $750 million on equipment alone.

Signed, sealed and now delivered. A new 20,000-seat arena on the Las Vegas strip. The T-Mobile structure just opened. It rests between New York New York and Monte Carlo hotels and is seen as a key revenue booster for the community. Anchutz Entertainment Group and MGM Resorts teamed up on the gleaming building, which some speculators claim may soon be the home of a new National Hockey League expansion team.

We've profiled Diggerland USA in previous trackers, but this new idea comes in the midst of basketball season. Excavator hoops, the latest at Diggerland XL, was just opened near Cherry Hill, NJ. The attraction is outfitted with heavy machines all from JCB which guest can operate with park employee assist as well as other games such as water wheel loader and the new excavator basketball.

In closing, wisdom is just scar tissue in disguise.

This is Construction News Tracker looking over the industry that makes the world a better place, presented by Caterpillar and produced by ForConstructionPros.com.

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