Contractors add 19,000 jobs in March, jobless rate lowest in seven years

Associated General Contractors of AmericaConstruction employers added 19,000 workers to payrolls in March, bringing industry employment to the highest level since June 2009, while the industry’s unemployment rate dropped to the lowest March level in seven years, according to an analysis of new government data by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials warned that the pool of available workers is declining rapidly, raising the prospects for significant labor shortages if demand continues to expand.

Construction employment totaled 5,964,000 in March, a gain of 151,000 or 2.6 percent from a year earlier, compared with a rise in total nonfarm employment of 1.7 percent over that period, Simonson noted. Residential building and specialty trade contractors added a combined total of 9,100 workers in March and 103,000 (4.8 percent) over 12 months. Nonresidential construction—building, specialty trades and heavy and civil engineering contractors—grew by 9,900 employees last month and 48,800 (1.3 percent) since March 2013.

The unemployment rate for workers actively looking for jobs and last employed in construction declined from 14.7 percent a year earlier to 11.3 percent last month. Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist, noted that the unemployment rate for construction workers had fallen by more than half since March 2010, when it reached 24.9 percent. During that time, the number of unemployed workers who last worked in construction declined by 1.3 million, but industry employment increased by only 445,000.

Association officials said that one reason the industry is likely to face labor shortages is because of the declining number of secondary-level construction training programs. They urged federal, state and local officials to take steps designed to make it easier for schools, construction firms and local trade associations to establish new training programs for future construction workers.

Walk-in baths earn Arthritis Foundation award

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American Standard’s line of walk-in baths ― designed for accessible and safe bathing for users with limited mobility ― has received the Arthritis Foundation’s Ease-of-Use Commendation. This award recognizes products that make life easier for people with arthritis and other physical limitations. Products undergo a multi-step testing process conducted by an independent lab of experts […]

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Webinar to address building safety

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Keith A. Porter, PE, PhD, a research professor with the University of Colorado at Boulder and a Principal with SPA Risk LLC, will deliver the first in a series of webinars to be held by the National Institute of Building Sciences Multihazard Mitigation Council (MMC). Entitled, “Safe Enough? How the Building Code Protects Our Lives […]

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Sealy to Receive Ronald H. Brown Standards Leadership Award

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National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) Past Chairman Jimmy W. Sealy, FAIA, has been selected by the U.S. Celebration of World Standards Day Planning Committee to be the 2014 recipient of the prestigious Ronald H. Brown Standards Leadership Award. Sealy will be honored by members of the U.S. standards and conformance community during the U.S. […]

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Daintree, LG reduce wireless LED lighting control overhead

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Daintree Networks and LG Electronics USA recently announced that they have created a fully integrated LED lighting solution with wireless control for commercial settings. The jointly-developed system embeds wireless communication capability directly into LED drivers used in LG LED lighting fixtures, enabling seamless interaction with Daintree’s ControlScope™ networked wireless control solution. Initial LG products with […]

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Innovative method for implementing green construction code proposed

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Representatives from across the building industry, including code officials, building owners, manufacturers, designers and energy efficiency advocates, have come together under the leadership of the National Institute of Building Sciences to develop a new approach to meeting energy efficiency requirements. This “Outcome-based Pathway,” which the group submitted as a proposed code change to the International […]

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USDA announces partnership to promote the use of wood

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United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack recently announced a $1 million U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service program to provide training for architects, engineers and builders in the use of advanced wood materials. The Wood Products Council’s WoodWorks initiative will be a partner in this program. The program is part of the president’s […]

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Solatube International donates daylighting to educational facilities

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Research has shown that students benefit tremendously in daylit environments. For example, a study by Heschong Mahone Group for Pacific Gas & Electric Co. tested 21,000 in three states and found those in classrooms with the most daylighting progressed 20 percent faster on math tests and 26 percent faster on reading tests in one year […]

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MCA publishes two new EPDs

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Two Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), one for Metal Composite Material Panels and one for  Roll Formed Steel Panels for Roofs and Walls, are now available free of charge from the Metal Construction Association (MCA) on its website. These documents are the second and third EPDs to be released by MCA, an organization of manufacturers and […]

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Workshop to Focus on Building Science Education in North America

Students, professors and lecturers of building science, as well as practicing architects, engineers and risk management professionals interested in building science education, should attend an upcoming workshop from ASTM International and the National Institute of Building Sciences. The ASTM/NIBS Workshop on Building Science Education in North America will be held April 6 at the Sheraton Toronto […]

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