Capital Update 10/31/22
Compensation costs increased 1.2 percent for civilian workers, seasonally adjusted, from June 2022 to September 2022. Over the year, total compensation rose 5.0 percent, wages and salaries rose 5.1 percent, and benefit costs rose 4.9 percent.
CA Employment 189,700 Below Pre-Covid Level
EDD reported that employment (seasonally adjusted; September preliminary) fell for the second month in a row, down 20,100 from the revised numbers for August. The number of unemployed rose 37,600.
The reported unemployment rate dropped 0.2 point to 3.9%, the lowest in the current data series. Rather than representing an improvement in labor conditions, however, change in the rate was primarily the result of a drop in the total labor force. California had the 15th highest unemployment rate among the states, and contained 13.0% of the total number of unemployed workers in the US.
In the national numbers, total US employment was up 204,000, and the number of unemployed dropped by 261,000. With the labor force largely unchanged, the reported unemployment rate dropped 0.2 point to 3.5%, matching the rate recorded in February 2020.
The third quarter saw a 10% year-over-year increase in the number of hotel construction projects being planned, according to the latest Construction Pipeline Trend Report by Lodging Econometrics. The company expects the uptrend to continue, after a summer recovery that came despite economic headwinds. Full Story: The Construction Broadsheet
Nonbuilding starts plunged 25% followed closely by a 23% drop in nonresidential for an overall decline in total construction starts of 19% in September, according to Dodge Construction Network. The numbers, including an 11% decline in residential, left the seasonally adjusted annual rate at $1.02 trillion and year-to-date total construction 16% higher than a year before over the first nine months of 2022. Full Story: Dodge Data & Analytics
Growth continued last month for the American Institute of Architects’ Architecture Billings Index, although the pace was down somewhat compared with August. September’s reading of 51.7 marked a decline from 53.3 in August but remained positive, despite inflationary pressure. Full Story: The Architect’s Newspaper
Los Angeles led US cities with 46 visible construction cranes in the third quarter as the total number across North American cities eased less than 1% from the first quarter to the third, according to the Rider Levett Bucknall Crane Index. RLB noted that higher labor costs and rising inflation have failed to significantly dent commercial construction demand. Full Story: Construction Dive
Top reasons workers don’t use PPE properly
A large majority of safety managers and coordinators have trouble ensuring workers wear their personal protective equipment, according to a recent survey conducted by PPE provider J.J. Keller Safegear. Employees most often didn’t wear PPE because they simply didn’t want to, according to the survey. Over 70% of those surveyed indicated employees had communicated that sentiment, while half said employees didn’t think PPE was necessary or that it made the job more difficult. Respondents to the survey were largely from the manufacturing, transportation and construction sectors, and most of them were responsible for buying PPE as well as training on proper use and ensuring employee compliance. The survey also identified three major areas of current PPE struggles: sizing, heat and supply chain concerns. One in three respondents said they struggled to buy PPE in the right sizes — 55% said they needed larger sizes and 41% needed smaller ones. The sizing issue most often related to head and upper body protection; 53% said they had trouble with PPE for both Meanwhile, 35% of respondents said they struggled to find PPE to fit female employees. Respondents stressed that finding the right fit is essential: workers should be able to don gear and have it fit comfortably for the entirety of their workday Open-ended comments to the survey indicated that managers also struggle to ensure proper PPE usage in heat. A previous J.J. Keller survey found 93% of workers’ environments reach temperatures in which PPE usage could raise the risk of heat illness. Finally, about half of respondents said they sometimes experienced supply chain delays, which left them without critical protective equipment, and one in four said they experienced them often.
The Small Business Administration’s 7(a) loan program can provide a vital helping hand to small, diverse contractors that win a government job but lack the initial capital resources needed to get started, according to Veronica Pugin, a senior policy adviser to the SBA’s Office of Capital Access. Pugin also pointed to other programs, such as the SBA’s 504 loans. Full Story: Construction Dive
The states that assess which roadways pose the greatest danger to pedestrians and cyclists may soon be joined by others with encouragement from the Department of Transportation. It’s part of the department’s National Roadway Safety Strategy and designed to help take advantage of resources provided under the bipartisan infrastructure law “to improve safety for vulnerable travelers, make our roads safer and more accessible for all,” says Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. Full Story: Bloomberg CityLab (free registration)
UK-based HyperTunnel has unveiled a tunnel built entirely by swarming robots. The robots are guided by a digital twin, and the approach is 10 times as fast as conventional methods, according to the company, whose method uses sustainable materials, including low-carbon concrete. Full Story: PBC Today (UK)
Kabri Lehrman-Schmid, a Hensel Phelps project superintendent who has managed $1.9 billion worth of work over the past 16 years, advises young women to consider construction for its vast opportunities and to approach the job with skills such as “curiosity, kindness, attention and thoughtfulness.” “In practice, they look simple, yet will set you apart: ask questions because people love to talk about what they are good at, so admit what you don’t know,” Lehrman-Schmid says. Full Story: Construction Dive
Clarkson University in New York is adding a Master of Science in Construction Engineering Management program to meet growing demand in the field. The program is designed to accommodate the school’s corporate partners and allow current and future employees to earn an advanced degree while working, says director Erik Backus. Full Story: Clarkson University (Potsdam, N.Y.)
Last week’s Construction Inclusion Week celebrated the promotion of women and minorities in the industry and the proven value of diversity in construction and communities as documented by the Associated General Contractors, writes Rick Wade from the US Chamber of Commerce. The week itself provided “educational and business resources for the construction industry, including live-streamed content, facilitator tools, and robust curriculum,” encouraging participants to further the cause, Wade writes. Full Story: U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Tutor Perini has secured two contracts worth a combined $132.5 million for hurricane rebuild projects for the US Coast Guard’s Sector San Juan in Puerto Rico. The contractor has also won a $31.6 million contract from the National Park Service for repairs and upgrades at the Ahwahnee Hotel at Yosemite National Park in California. Full Story: Construction Dive
Construction on $2.4B Los Angeles Purple Line halted due to safety issues
Construction on a 2.6-mile section of the $2.4 billion Los Angeles Purple Line project has been shut down due to safety concerns following a history of injuries and issues dating to July 2021, according to a letter sent to the contractors by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority. Transit officials stopped work following repeated warnings about safety issues to Sylmar, California-based Tutor Perini and Torrington, Connecticut-based O&G Industries, the contractors leading the project. Metro officials shut down the project Oct. 21, suspending work until Nov. 7. The closure could be lifted earlier if the contractors meet Metro’s demands, which include a revamped safety plan and a comprehensive evaluation of the site, but may also be extended if the issues persist