[VIDEO] Caterpillar Plans More US Manufacturing Plant Closures

Following on the heels of a $1.5 billion cost cutting plan and loss of 5,300 jobs Cat announces it will close five more US plants and cut another 820 jobs; plus more construction industry news on the May 12, 2016, edition of Construction News Tracker

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

Caterpillar will close five manufacturing plants in the U.S. and reduce its workforce by 820 jobs in the next year to year and a half. Faced with major revenue losses nearing 40% as a result of international declines in equipment purchases, it was just months ago the company announced a $1.5 billion cost cutting plan that has resulted in the loss of some 5,300 jobs and shuttering roughly 20 plants by 2018. Machine and engine parts plants to be closed in the latest round of cutbacks are located in both South and North Carolina, Florida and Mississippi.

Stop driving your new GMC Sierra or Chevy Silverado. That's the advice from General Motors. The stop driving order covers only 4,800 2016 and 2017 models. GM says front upper control arms were improperly welded on these vehicles, could be separated from bushings and result in a crash.

Also, Ford is recalling over 200,000 vehicles to fix a problem with automatic transmissions. It seems they tend to suddenly downshift into first gear when driving. For construction folks, the Ford recall covers 2011 and 2012 F-150s. Check with your dealer for details.

Wow! Pretty dismal employment numbers for April. Construction added only a meager 1,000 jobs after gaining 41,000 in March. Overall, only 160,000 were added to payrolls last month. This has economists scrambling for the reason.

Surprise from CMD: construction starts for the first quarter of 2016 were up 7.4% — much higher than anticipated by economists who note that 2015 starts were up 5.8%. Both residential and nonresidential are tracking in positive territory. CMD now believes nonresidential is on the uptick with offices, transportation terminals and hospital facilities leading the way.

CMD economist Alex Carrick notes that previous first quarter results have been lower, and the new momentum in construction may lead to GDP improvements as the year progresses.

U.S. housing markets where homes are selling the fastest and demand strongest shows April has been a hot month for buyers. While California still leads the way in sales, Realtor.com survey indicates the Midwest is heating up. Overall, the market saw 550,000 listings last month — a 2% rise from March despite a tight market for first time buyers. Home builders still complain about a lack of construction workers and increased regulations which are hiking home costs by as much as 25% in some areas.

The Realtor.com list of the 20 hottest markets show California cities lead in six of the top 10 with Denver, Dallas, Ann Arbor, MI, and Columbus, Ohio, rounding out the remainder.

160,000 million Americans, or 65% of the population, now supports the idea of highway user fees to fund infrastructure. That's the result of Transportation Mobility 2016, a nationwide survey conducted by HNTB Corporation. The result is a big increase from the 40% that supported the plan only two years ago.

An even higher percentage, 69%, say they also believe tolled highway lanes should be considered when highway improvements are made. HNTB claims its survey also breaks down population differences in that Millennials and Gen-xers are three times more amenable to user fees and new taxes for highways and infrastructure.

Associated Builders and Contractors claims that construction companies pay more in federal taxes than any other U.S. industry. ABC analyzed U.S. Treasury reports from 2007 to 2010 and found the industry overall paid corporate tax rates of 30.3% while other industries' federal corporate taxes were 23.3% and is the result of the many small businesses and contractors that pay taxes by filing individual returns.

It's very much like the way you would zip up a jacket, but this new construction idea will construct a tunnel or archway at a fraction of the time and materials needed to build the convention way. Watch...

Finally, character is described as a diamond that eventually scratches every other stone.

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.

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