Construction News Tracker: PRO Act Passage Draws Anti-Union Rhetoric from Associations

Construction lost 61,000 jobs in February in the first US employment decline since April, 12-month non-building construction starts in January were 15% below the previous year’s, Nevada governor considers World of Concrete’s request for a June show

The U.S. House of Representatives recent passage of the PRO Act is being denounced by contractor organizations nationwide. AGC, ABC and other employer groups say amending the National Labor Relations Act to grant workers more rights and benefits would change collective bargaining. AGC said broadening of the PRO Act brings about ‘a new era of labor unrest that will stifle job growth and economic activity.’

Construction lost 61,000 jobs in February as the jobless rate rose and the employment picture showed its first decline since last April. Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show the constructions jobless rate climbed to 9.6% in February, far above the 5.5% level of the same month in 2020. Year-over-year, the construction jobless rate declined by 308,000 jobs, or 4%. Every construction industry segment lost jobs with the exception of home building, which gained 5,300 positions. The non-industry specialty trade contractor segment shed 36,700 jobs in February alone.


Dodge Data claims the nation’s economy is performing at 22% below pre-pandemic levels and its chief economist is predicting better days ahead. The Dodge analysis for January shows total construction starts were off 4%. Nonresidential building starts were off by 10% and residential was down by 4%. For the 12 months ending January 2021, total nonbuilding starts were 15% lower than the 12 months ending January 2020. Chief economist Richard Branch, however, claims the second quarter should see improved building plans.


The Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau finds that construction spending is up in nine sectors of the industry. National nonresidential construction spending increased 0.9% in January to 799 billion. Private nonresidential spending rose a meager 0.4% while public nonresidential spending was up by 1.6% for January. Only four construction categories have seen year-over-year spending growth: highway and streets, public safety, water supply, sewage and waste disposal. All the numbers are in line with ABC’s Backlog Indicator that shows the backlog is stabilizing and nonresidential contractors are expecting expanded sales and staffing levels over the next six months.


Officials at World of Concrete would like a face-to-face show and are asking the governor of Nevada to approve their request. World of Concrete was originally scheduled for January of this year at the Las Vegas Convention Center, but the coronavirus shut down that plan. Now WoC seeks to have an open, visitor-attended show in June with limited attendance under CDC guidelines. The Nevada governor’s office is working on the request.


It’s taken four years, but now Nashville’s largest development, consisting of 2.2 million square feet, is nearly complete. The 5th and Broadway project in downtown Nashville includes a 415-foot, 386-unit apartment tower – the highest in Tennessee – and a 24-story office tower with 372,000 square feet of office space. Skanska has completed the core of its work on the towers that employed 7,000 workers at the height of construction along with 105 prime subcontractors. The complex is now open to the public.


New York City is poised to resume construction on some $17 billion in projects after the city halted work during the pandemic. The mayor’s office announced recently that work could resume on such city projects as housing, schools and parks stalled due to coronavirus restrictions. New York City has appointed a recovery czar to oversee construction on some 1,700 projects set to get underway by the end of March. That includes street improvements and sewer upgrades. Building & Construction Trades Council officials are salivating at the idea that thousands of workers can return to work.


Preventing the loss of construction tools and attachments is a time-consuming and financial burden for contractors. Editor Curt Bennink has compiled an extensive bit of research on the topic and is delivering it on our website. Productivity has been diminished by upwards of 10% on jobsites as workers search for tools needed to complete jobs. Theft, loss and damage can account for 30% of total annual tool purchases. But now new digital technology has been employed to lighten the burden. Curt has compiled an asset-tracking-system checklist for your consideration, and we invite you to review it now on