Construction News Tracker is presented by Caterpillar and produced by ForConstructionPros.com.
The National Association of Homebuilders is pleased with the latest outlook for apartment and condo construction. The three components comprising the multifamily production index has inched up 3 points from the second quarter of the year to 53 in the third quarter.
Meanwhile data firm Axiometrics claims multifamily construction is poised to increase 10.5% in this quarter to 91,957 units, remain flat in the first quarter of 2017,then increase again later next year. Axiometrics reports that near term multifamily remains healthy. There is strong belief that an ease back will come mid 2017 as new inventory is released into the marketplace.
After months of U.S. public construction spending decline in 2016 the U.S. Commerce Department estimates the value of puclib construction put in place in October rose 2.8%.
Combined with a 1.8% increase in residential construction spending, the two sectors were able to counterbalance drops in the nonresidential spending categorgies of power, manufacturing, commercial and office construction — which represent 70% of private nonresidential spending in the U.S. —to hold total U.S. construction spending static from September to October.
One-hundred-seventy-eight thousand jobs were added to the nation's labor force in November, dropping the unemployment rate to 4.6%. The construction sector saw a rise of 19,000 jobs. Over the last three months the job market has averged 176,000 new jobs, and the unemployment rate now matches that of August 2007.
Voters in dozens of states approved funding for local transportation projects in the presidential election. In fact, 33 of 48 measures received winning tallies. Transportation initiatives, according to AASHTO, ranged from multi-million dollar bond issues to increases in gas tax rates. Meanwhile the AASHTO board is calling on the Trump administration and Congress to renew the need for a long-term highway funding program similar to the FAST Act — now one year old, with four years of life remaining. House Transportation Committee Chair Bill Shuster has said that lawmakers are working closely with the Trump transition team on ways to find a fiscally responsible track to pay for future improvements.
The president elect has announced he will appoint Elaine Chao as Transportation Secretary. She is a long-time Republican, former Labor Secretary and Deputy Transportation Secretary. In an interview with the New York Times Mr. Trump said there are several issues more important on his agenda than infrastructure, such as tax reform, regulation and health care reform. Mr Trump described infrastructure as not a core element of his administrations agenda.
The ongoing saga of an Obama Administration effort to impose stricter workplace rules, this time on overtime eligibility, has been rejected by a federal district court in Texas, not unlike many before it. Over the past two years, justices in that state have struck down or suspended five major regulations, executive orders or action. Judge Amos Mazzant agreed with 21 states and a coalition of business groups in granting the permenant injunction. It affected an estimated four million workers nationwide.
Revised final rules for walking-working surface and fall protection standards has been imposed by OSHA, and are slated to take efffect January 17th. It's estimated the ruling will affect 112 million workers and 7 million jobsites. The biggest change appears to be centered around employer choice of a variety of general and personal fall protection systems and resolves discrepancies with construction industry standards covering rope descent, body belts and worker training.
On the East Coast, $756 million in secure financing has been obtained by the Cheseapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel Commission. The money is earmarked for a 17.6 mile, two-lane tunnel expansion to the present Chessie Tunnel in Virgina. The five year planned construction is expected to get underway late next year.
It's not too early to obtain your registration for World of Concrete 2017. The January 17th date for seminars to begin and the entire show floor exhibits to open reigns near. Contact worldofconcrete.com for all the inside information about the show. We hope to see you there.
In closing, a man can fail many times, but he isn’t a failure until he give’s up.
This is Construction News Tracker looking over the industry that makes the world a better place. Presented by Caterpillar and produced by ForConstructionPros.com.