Construction News Tracker is presented by Caterpillar and produced by ForConstructionPros.com.
Construction materials prices rose in March for the first time in nine months. Associated Builders and Contractors looked into Bureau of Labor Statistics' latest report and found prices are up nine-tenths of a percent between February and March. However, those same prices dropped 3.4% year-over-year.
Only four of 11 input prices dropped, placing the March stats at an increase. Admittedly, much of the price hike follows that of crude oil, and with OPEC walking away from a recent price freeze it could bode well for the industry future by keeping energy costs low.
Investment banking and construction industry consulting firm FMI is forecasting a slower construction growth rate of 6% for 2016. Noting that the 2015 rate was 11% or $1.1 trillion in put in place dollars, the highest since the recession year of 2008, FMI sees only $1.6 trillion in nonresidential, highway and street construction — much attributed to passage of the new highway bill. FMI claims manufacturing construction will expand by 9% this year after showing a major 44% jump in 2015.
Two-hundred-thirty-four national metro areas saw construction employment improvement in the past year through February, according to AGC. But, 358 areas lagged in new jobs. The area with the most new jobs was Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine, CA, followed by suburban New York City communities of Orange-Rockland, NY, and Westchester, NY.
UAVs are becoming synonymous with construction, according to the association that keeps track of such things. The tightly controlled universe of drone use by the Federal Aviation Administration has allowed 40% of its exemptions for use to construction affiliated companies and projects. This adds up to 1,800 exemptions to drone use rules with Florida-, California- and Texas-based companies leading the mix.
Buckle up...if you can. Particularly if you own a 2014-2016 Chevy Silverado or GMC Sierra 1500 pickup truck. General Motors has issued a recall notice for one million of these vehicles. The flexible steel cable that connects seat belts to the vehicle can wear down due to repeated cable bending and cause the seat belt to come loose. It's an easy fix, according to the manufacturer.
We've been reporting on the state of potholes nationwide and state efforts to not only repair them but fix major infrastructure needs as well. Thank to NBC News, it has published a nationwide map that indicates the best and worst states contributing to 16 million vehicle incidents stemming from potholes.
As we speak, Minnesota has finalized its 2016 construction program to the tune of $1 billion. The gopher state will tackle 246 new and continuing highway projects.
MNDOT claims it needs to be proactive as it anticipates a 45% reduction in funding by 2018 unless lawmakers find additional dollars.
Ford Motor Company is embarking on a massive building program for its corporate Dearborn, MI, headquarters. Presently housed in 70 disconnected building in suburban Detroit, the automaker is setting out on a 10-year redevelopment plan estimated at $1.2 billion to bring all the departments into a single setting.
Architectural drawings bring a modernistic flavor to the planned complex along with environmentally friendly technology and geothermal heating and cooling and a massive solar system.
Not far away, General Motors is engaged in a billion dollar improvement plan at its Warren, MI, complex as well. All good news for the Motor City.
Finally, a real leader faces the music even when he doesn't like the tune.
This is Construction News Tracker looking over the industry that makes the world a better place. Brought to you by Caterpillar and produced by ForConstructionPros.com.