Construction News Tracker is presented by Caterpillar and produced by ForConstructionPros.com.
Still nothing concrete, although elements within the Trump Administration believe an all encompassing infrastructure bill is forthcoming. There appears to be plenty of speculation as to what the legislation will recommend, what with previous calls for a trillion dollar spending package. Stay tuned.
Construction spending beat out the forecasts for November by 8/10ths of a percent. Single family residential strength led the numbers in a four month time span for value of construction put in place to a three month average of 8.8%.. ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basau termed November's report a stark reversal of preexisting trends. He said the recent pattern of nonresidential construction spending has been focused on brisk expansion of private categories, but with November's change public construction spending rose by 6.5% while private construction spending shrank on a year-over-year basis. This is raising concerns over the possibility of over building in some metro areas while the nations' housing market is the strongest in a decade.
The Dodge Momentum Index ended 2017 on the plus side with strong 8.6% performance from the institutional sector. The index itself grew 3.6% in December to finish the year at 153.9, bolstered by institutional gains. The commercial construction area gained less than 1%. Dodge averaged 132.3 for the year, a 10.7% gain from 2016 from both important sectors. The fourth quarter of the year, however, saw its strongest performance.
Three-hundred and six billion dollars is the cost for three hurricanes, widfires, hail, flooding, tornadoes and drought in the U.S. last year. Much more than 2005 when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans at a cost of $215 billion. Overall, 16 billion-dollar disasters struck the nation, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Three of the most expensive hurricanes ever — Harvey in Texas, Maria in Puerto Rico and Irma in Florida — were recorded.
Updating the power supply situation in Puerto Rico, utility crews from across the nation have taken up residence on the island to restore electricity to the population. Hurricane Maria left such a devastating mess that nearly the entire distribution network must be rebuilt. Crews are staying a month on average, and Florida Power and Light has been among those leading the charge. They have 140 line crews onsite and have transported 1,000 power poles, 100 bucket trucks and equipment by barge to the community.
Great Britain has been racked by the bankruptcy of its second largest construction firm Carillion. The firm was forced into liquidation after losing money on a series of contracts and accumulating over $1 billion in debt. One of Britain's biggest contractors, the loss of Carillion threatens some 19,000 jobs and an already pounded pension fund of $800 million deficit.
A ground breaking event for the Las Vegas Convention Center expansion was held recently marking the second phase of the $1.4 billion project. The former Riviera Resort is the site of the latest construction to add 1.4 million square feet of exhibition and meeting space to the cavernous complex. The building is expected to support 14,000 construction jobs and when completed, an additional 7,800 jobs to the Las Vegas market.
Another recall is underway for Dodge Ram trucks, this time for its shifter mechanism. Chrysler says certain 2010 through 2017 model 2500 and 3500 pickups; 3500, 4500 and 5500 chassis cabs; and 2016 and 2017 3500 Ram chassis — which total 1.48 million vehicles — are under recall. Higher interior temperatures linked to an electrical problem can cause the brake transmission interlock device to fail. Contact your dealer if you own one of these Dodge Ram trucks.
For many of us winter is here, and that means sometimes treacherous driving conditions. For many, some modern technology is wreaking havoc on motorists as northern states including Minnesota is experiencing. Here is Liz Collin:
Finally, in closing, some people march to the beat of a different drummer and some people tango.
This is Construction News Tracker looking over the industry that makes the world a better place, presented by Caterpillar and produced by ForConstructionPros.com.