AGC to build equestrian center for Horses 4 Heroes

agc-charitiesConstruction charity organization AGC Charities, Inc. announced today that it will build a new equestrian center for a local charity group that provides equestrian programs and activities for veterans, their families and local first responders. As part of its annual Operation Opening Doors effort, contractors will donate their time, expertise and money to create a new facility for Horses 4 Heroes.

Since its establishment in 2006, Horses 4 Heroes has been operating out of the back yard of the woman who founded the group, Sydney Knott. But thanks to AGC Charities, Inc. and the help of many member firms, the group has received permission from Las Vegas to build a new facility at the historic Tulley Springs Ranch on the northern end of town.

Las Vegas-based Martin-Harris Construction has volunteered to serve as the lead contractor for the charitable effort. The AGC of Las Vegas has also committed to recruiting many of its members to participate in the effort. The new facility will have an area for farm animals, riding arena and Mare Motel, as well as new fencing. In addition, the team will renovate one of the Ranch’s old cottages into a residence for the horse caretaker and perform significant site-prep work. The facility is scheduled to open on Thursday, March 6.

Clemens said the AGC Charities group is currently fundraising to support the soon-to-be renovated facility. He noted that the charitable group was established six years ago to channel and support the charitable efforts of the construction community. He added that the group held previous national Operation Opening Doors projects in Washington, D.C., Honolulu, Orlando and Palm Springs.

Click here for more information about Horses 4 Heroes, AGC Charities, Inc. and its Operation Opening Doors projects.

Construction employment increases in 185 out of 339 metro areas

Associated General Contractors of AmericaConstruction employment increased in 185 out of 339 metropolitan areas between May 2012 and May 2013, declined in 115 and was stagnant in 39, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials said the number of metro areas adding jobs, and the pace at which construction employment is expanding in those metro areas continues to grow.

Pascagoula, Miss. added the highest percentage of new construction jobs (47 percent, 2,000 jobs), followed by Eau Claire, Wis. (29 percent, 900 jobs); Hanford-Corcoran, Calif. (29 percent, 200 jobs) and Napa, Calif. (25 percent, 600 jobs). Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, Ariz. added the most new jobs (13,000 jobs, 15 percent), followed by Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas (9,700 jobs, 9 percent); Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Mass. (9,100 jobs, 18 percent); Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas (8,900 jobs, 5 percent) and Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas (8,800 jobs, 15 percent).

The largest job losses were in Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. (-3,100 jobs, -5 percent), followed by Cincinnati-Middletown, Ohio-Ky. (-2,800 jobs, -7 percent); Sacramento–Arden-Arcade–Roseville, Calif. (-2,800 jobs, -7 percent) and Northern Virginia (-2,600 jobs, -4 percent). Rockford, Ill. (-18 percent, -800 jobs) and Steubenville-Weirton, Ohio-W.V. (-18 percent, -300 jobs) lost the highest percentage. Other areas experiencing large percentage declines in construction employment included Decatur, Ill. (-14 percent, -500 jobs); Mansfield, Ohio (-14 percent, -300 jobs) and Pocatello, Idaho (-14 percent, -200 jobs).

Association officials said the new, mostly positive, figures were welcome news for a construction industry that bore the brunt of the recent economic downturn. But they cautioned that years of dwindling employment prospects and neglect of vocational and skills-based educational programs have discouraged many potential job seekers from considering careers in construction. They said contractors in some faster growing metro areas were likely to have a tougher time finding skilled workers if the industry continues to add jobs.

View construction employment figures by state and rank.

Construction spending rebounds in February

Associated General Contractors of AmericaConstruction spending rebounded in February with gains from depressed January levels in residential, private nonresidential and public investment, according to an analysis of new Census Bureau data by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials cautioned that the rise in public investment was likely to be short-lived and urged policy makers in Washington to make infrastructure investment a priority.

Construction put in place totaled $885 billion in February, up 1.2 percent from the downwardly revised January level. The February 2013 total was 7.9 percent higher than in February 2012. Private residential construction jumped 2.2 percent for the month and 20 percent year-over-year. Private nonresidential spending rose 0.4 percent for the month and 6.1 percent year-over-year. Public construction spending increased 0.9 percent for the month but slipped 1.5 percent over 12 months.

New single-family construction rose 4.3 percent from January’s level and 34 percent from a year ago. New multifamily construction fell 2.2 percent for the month but was 52 percent above the February 2012 mark.

The largest private nonresidential category, power construction—which includes oil and gas fields and pipelines as well as power plants, alternative energy and transmission lines—increased 0.7 percent for the month and 4.0 percent over 12 months. Manufacturing construction rose 0.3 percent and 9.9 percent, respectively. Private transportation construction slumped 2.4 percent in February but climbed 17 percent year-over-year. Warehouse construction soared 8.3 percent and 19 percent. New and remodeled private office construction rose 0.3 percent and 25 percent.

Association officials said federal infrastructure investment has been plunging even as several states have passed funding increases for projects. Federal investment in construction dropped 1.1 percent in February and 10 percent from a year ago, while state and local investment rose 1.1 percent for the month and was nearly level—down 0.5 percent—year-over-year. They urged the federal government to fund vitally needed investments in infrastructure projects.

Construction spending up despite 3.5% decline in public construction

Associated General Contractors of AmericaConstruction spending declined between July and August to an annualized rate of $837 billion, but increased compared to August 2011, according to an analysis of new federal data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials noted that growing demand for residential, lodging and education construction in particular offset drops in public construction spending.

Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer,noted that total construction spending declined 0.6 percent for the month but was up 6.5 percent from August 2011 to August 2012. Private residential spending continues to strengthen, increasing by 0.9 percent compared to July and up 17.8 percent during the past 12 months. Private nonresidential construction, however, declined by 1.7 percent for the month, but remains up 7.2 percent for the year. Public construction slid further, declining 0.8 percent in August and 3.5 percent year-over-year.

Within the private sector, multi-family construction experienced the largest monthly and annual gains, increasing by 3.7 percent for the month and 44.8 percent for the year. Single-family construction also surged, up 2.8 percent for the month and 20.8 percent for the year. Lodging and education construction experienced the highest rate of annual growth within the private nonresidential sector, up 33.7 and 22 percent respectively, even as spending on the two segments declined by 0.1 and 0.9 percent for the month.

Power and energy construction—the largest private nonresidential type—fell for the sixth month in a row in August, by 3.7 percent compared with July, but the total still rose 12.3 percent from a year ago, thanks in part to oil and gas activity. Manufacturing construction also declined for the month, down 0.7 percent, yet remains 6.1 percent higher compared to August 2011.

Public construction continues to decline as local and state governments struggle to balance budgets and one-time federal programs like the Base Realignment and Construction (BRAC) and stimulus programs wind down, Sandherr noted. He added that highway and street construction spending inched down 0.6 percent in August but was up 3.6 percent year-over-year, while educational construction spending decreased 3.4 percent and 7.0 percent respectively.

Sandherr said construction activity was likely to stagnate until Congress and the administration can agree on spending and tax rates for next year and beyond.

Construction spending continues year-over-year growth

Associated General Contractors of AmericaConstruction spending in July maintained consistent year-over-year growth despite a pullback from the June peak, according to an analysis of new federal data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials said they expect the disparity between private and public construction to persist unless Washington acts to fix infrastructure funding challenges and pass long-delayed measures.

Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist noted that the number send a very mixed message. Total construction spending declined 0.9 percent for the month but climbed 9.3 percent from July 2011 to July 2012 as well as for the first seven months of 2012 combined, compared with the same period in 2011. Private residential spending dropped 1.6 percent for the month but was 19 percent higher than in July 2011. Private nonresidential construction slumped 0.9 percent for the month but grew 12 percent year-over-year. Public construction slid further, edging down 0.4 percent  in July and 0.7 percent year-over-year.

The single-family segment rose for the fourth straight month, by 1.5 percent from June and 19 percent from July 2011. New multifamily construction climbed 2.8 percent in July and 45 percent from a year earlier. The only reason residential spending decreased for the month was an apparent 5.5 percent drop in improvements, but initial estimates for improvements are often substantially revised, the construction economist noted.

Power and energy construction—the largest private nonresidential type—fell for the fifth month in a row in July, by 1.4 percent compared with June, but the total still rose 21 percent from a year ago, thanks in part to oil and gas activity. Simonson said he expected demand for power and energy construction to stabilize and probably expand. He added that he was optimistic that manufacturing construction, which shrank 2.1 percent for the month but was 17 percent higher than in July 2011, will resume growing in the coming months.

Public construction, which is dominated by highway and educational construction, remains plagued by budget woes, especially for local governments and school districts, Simonson remarked. He noted that highway and street construction spending inched down 0.3 percent in July but was up 5.2 percent over 12 months, while educational construction spending decreased 0.6 percent and 5.0 percent respectively. Other public segments dipped 0.2 percent for the month and 0.8 percent year-over-year.

Association officials said public construction growth will remain a drag on the industry unless lawmakers enact long-delayed measures for essential water, wastewater and other infrastructure projects. They added that Washington officials also need to address chronic funding imbalances for a host of infrastructure programs.

Construction spending reaches highest level since December 2009

Associated General Contractors of AmericaConstruction spending in June rose to a 2-1/2 year high as double-digit percentage increases in private residential and nonresidential construction more than offset an ongoing downturn in public construction, according to an analysis of new federal data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials said they expect the disparity between private and public construction is likely to persist and urged policy makers to put more funding into infrastructure projects.

“The June spending gains come on top of upward revisions to May and April totals, reinforcing the notion that private construction is now growing consistently,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Even more encouraging, the improvement is showing up in a wide range of residential and nonresidential categories.”

Simonson noted that total construction spending gained 0.4 percent for the month and 7.0 percent year-over-year. Private nonresidential spending climbed for the fourth consecutive month and was 14 percent higher than in June 2011. Residential construction increased 1.3 percent for the month and 12 percent year-over-year, with new multifamily construction soaring 3.4 percent and 49 percent, respectively, and single-family homebuilding up 3.0 percent and 19 percent.

The construction economist said that five of the 11 private nonresidential categories in the Census Bureau’s monthly report registered double-digit percentage gains in spending from June 2011 to June 2012: power and energy construction (including oil and gas-related projects), 26 percent; hotels, 26 percent; manufacturing and educational, 19 percent apiece; and transportation (mainly trucking and rail facilities), 17 percent. There were also 7 percent year-over-year increases in health care, commercial (retail, warehouse and farm) and office construction.

Public construction spending appears to have stabilized in recent months but the June 2012 total was 3.7 percent less than a year earlier, Simonson noted. He said only two of the Census Bureau’s 13 public categories posted year-over-year increases.

“Private nonresidential and multifamily construction should continue to grow in the second half of 2012 and beyond,” Simonson predicted. “Single-family homebuilding also should top last year’s figures, although progress may not occur every month. As a result, total construction spending in 2012 will be positive for the year for the first time since 2007 even though public construction will remain in the doldrums.”

Association officials said construction growth will remain unbalanced, however, unless lawmakers enact more funding for essential water, wastewater and other infrastructure projects.

“Although Congress has kept highway spending from falling, other types of infrastructure, including our aging water systems, need attention,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “There is nothing to be gained from letting our infrastructure deteriorate further.”

Construction Employment Mixed Over Past Year

Associated General Contractors of AmericaConstruction employment increased in  half the states plus the District of Columbia from June 2011 to June 2012, but declined in a slim majority of states in the past month, according to an analysis of Labor Department data by the Associated General Contractors of America.

25 states and D.C. added construction jobs between June 2011 and June 2012, while construction employment fell in 25 states. D.C. added the highest percentage of new construction jobs for the year (17.8 percent, 2,100 jobs), followed by North Dakota (16.2 percent, 3,800 jobs) and Montana (14.6 percent, 3,300 jobs). California added the most new construction jobs over the past 12 months (27,200, 5.0 percent), followed by Texas (24,400, 4.4 percent) and Arizona (11,200, 10.2 percent).

Among states that lost construction jobs during the past year, Alaska lost the highest percentage (-20.5 percent, -3,200 jobs), followed by Wisconsin (-11.1 percent, -10,200 jobs) and Mississippi (-9.7 percent, -4,700 jobs). Florida lost the most jobs (-24,600, -7.4 percent), followed by New York (-12,500, -4.1 percent), Wisconsin and Illinois (-9,900, -5.1 percent).

Less positively, only 18 states plus D.C. added construction jobs between May and June, while construction employment decreased in 27 states and held steady in five. The highest percentage gains for the month occurred in D.C. (7.8 percent, 1,000 jobs), followed by North Dakota (2.6 percent, 700 jobs) and Montana (2.4 percent, 600 jobs). Texas added the most jobs during the month (9,600, 1.7 percent), followed by California (8,100, 1.4 percent) and Ohio (3,500, 2.0 percent).

South Dakota had the steepest percentage decline among states that lost construction jobs for the month (-5.2 percent, -1,100 jobs), followed by Arkansas (-3.7 percent, -1,700 jobs) and Iowa (-3.4 percent, -2,300 jobs). The largest number of construction job losses in June occurred in Florida (-5,300, -1.7 percent), followed by Iowa and Massachusetts (-2,100, -2.0 percent).

Association officials warned that construction employment was likely to stagnate or shrink in more states if federal and state officials continue to cut investments in public infrastructure and buildings.

View the state employment data by rank and by state.

Construction spending inches up in March

Associated General Contractors of AmericaConstruction spending inched up in March 2012 to an annualized rate of $808 billion, up 0.1 percent compared to the previous month and is now 6 percent above year ago levels, according to a new analysis of federal data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. The overall gains mask divergent trends however, as public sector construction activity continues to decline while private sector demand for new construction continues to strengthen.

Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist noted that private construction activity expanded by 11.5 percent between March 2011 and March 2012 and by 0.7 percent compared to February 2012. Nonresidential spending was particularly robust, expanding by 15.2 percent from March 2011 and by 0.7 percent compared to February 2012. He noted that the biggest private nonresidential monthly spending increases were for transportation (up 6.7 percent for the month) and office projects (up 5.4 percent for the month), while manufacturing (up 38.6 percent for the year) and power construction (up 22.1 percent for the year) experienced the largest annual increases.

The economist added that private residential spending increased by 0.7 percent compared to February 2012 and 7.4 percent compared to March 2011. New single-family construction posted a 10.3 percent year-over-year rise and a 3.8 percent increase for the month. New multi-family construction was up 23.3 percent from the previous March but down 3.1 percent from February. Spending on residential improvements moved up 2.6 percent year-over-year and fell 1.9 percent for the month.

Simonson said that public construction spending declined 3.2 percent in March from a year earlier and 1.1 percent from March. The two largest public categories showed similar results. Highway and street construction, the largest public category, was down 0.5 percent year-over-year and fell 0.8 percent for the month. Educational spending declined by 2.7 percent over 12 months after dropping 1.2 percent from February to March.

Association officials warned that the ongoing declines in public construction spending were making it difficult to benefit from the growing private sector construction activity. While Congress appears to finally be making progress on a long-overdue highway and transit bill, the lack of key bills, the winding down of the stimulus and the conclusion of many military base realignment projects were offsetting growth in private sector activity.

Construction Employment Increases in Half of U.S. Metro Areas

Associated General Contractors of AmericaConstruction employment increased in 171 out of 337 metropolitan areas between February 2011 and February 2012, decreased in 119 and stayed level in 47, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials said employment was increasing in many metro areas thanks in large part to growing private sector demand for construction.

Atlantic City-Hammonton, N.J. added the highest percentage of new construction jobs (33 percent, 1,300 jobs) followed by Michigan City-La Porte, Ind. (31 percent, 400 jobs). Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, Colo. added the most jobs (6,300 jobs, 10 percent). Other areas adding a large number of jobs included Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif. (4,700 jobs, 5 percent); Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Ore.-Wash. (4,300 jobs, 10 percent); Indianapolis-Carmel, Ind. (4,100 jobs, 12 percent) and Philadelphia, Pa. (3,500 jobs, 6 percent).

The largest job losses were in Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, Ill. (-5,400 jobs, -5 percent), followed by St. Louis, Mo.-Ill. (-4,200 jobs, -7 percent); Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla. (-4,000 jobs, -8 percent) and New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, La. (-3,600 jobs, -12 percent). Monroe, Mich. (-32 percent, -600 jobs) lost the highest percentage. Other areas experiencing large percentage declines in construction employment included Springfield, Mass.-Conn. (-27 percent, -2,100 jobs) and Montgomery, Ala. (-17 percent, -1,000 jobs).

Association officials noted that private sector construction spending shot up by 10 percent in the past year even as public sector investments in construction activity have dropped by 1 percent. They said that tight state and local budgets, the winding down of construction activity funded by the stimulus and Base Realignment and Closure programs, and delayed Congressional action on a number of infrastructure bills were all holding back broader construction employment gains.

View construction employment figures by state and rank.

Construction employment increases by 17,000, but unemployment rate his 16%

Construction employment increased in December by 17,000 driven by gains in nonresidential construction employment, according to an analysis of new federal employment data released  by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials said that construction employment likely benefitted from unseasonably warm weather across much of the country that extended the construction season.

“Nonresidential construction is clearly driving last month’s employment gains,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “But it is too early to tell whether those gains came because the weather was good enough for crews to keep working well into December or because demand is truly rebounding.”

Total construction employment now stands at 5,544,000 or 0.3 percent higher than a month earlier and 46,000 (0.8 percent) higher than in December 2010, the economist said. He added that the latest employment figures continue a months-long trend of slight gains followed by slight declines in construction employment and that overall construction employment is still far below its peak level of 7,726,000 in April 2006.

The nonresidential construction sector added 17,200 construction jobs in December, Simonson noted. He said nonresidential specialty trade contractors added 20,200 positions, while heavy and civil engineering construction firms – which perform the majority of publicly-funded construction work – shed 300 jobs. Nonresidential building contractors shed 2,700 jobs in December.  Residential construction lost 400 total jobs, as the residential specialty trade contractors shed 2,900 jobs and residential builder added only 2,500 positions in December.

Association officials said the increase in construction jobs was welcome news, but said they were concerned that partisan fighting in Washington would undermine chances of enacting a number of long-overdue infrastructure investment programs and measures needed to boost the economy. Without those measures construction employment was likely to suffer.

“It is going to be hard to pass tax and investment measures to help boost private sector demand when congress and the president are at odds about everything from appointments to how to curb growing federal deficits,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “When elected officials are more interested in scoring political points than addressing our critical infrastructure needs, everybody else – including unemployed construction workers and the economy – suffers.”