SBE News

Capital Update 3/13/2023

Dodge Momentum Index returns to growth

The Dodge Momentum Index climbed back from a January decline with a 1.9% overall rise in February with gains in both the commercial and institutional components. Looking ahead, Sarah Martin, Dodge Construction Network’s associate director of forecasting, says “the anticipated mild economic growth in 2023 could cause the DMI to moderate over the year, but it is unlikely to fall below historical norms.” Full Story: Dodge Data & Analytics 

AGC economist predicts no recession in 2023

Strong growth in the nation’s manufacturing sector is just one reason that a recession is unlikely this year, according to Ken Simonson, chief economist for Associated General Contractors of America. Simonson also cites job openings, strong industry investment and spending power across the economy as well as sustained tax revenues, noting that “state and local governments at all levels also have a lot of money to spend.” Full Story: Construction Dive

Powell: Data could lead Fed to pursue faster rate hikes

Persistently strong economic data could lead Federal Reserve officials to raise interest rates higher than they had initially expected, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said in testimony before a Senate banking committee. “If the totality of the data were to indicate that faster tightening is warranted, we would be prepared to increase the pace of rate hikes,” Powell told the committee. Powell indicated that upcoming job and inflation data could play a key role in the Fed’s next rate-hike decision. Full Story: The Associated Press  The New York Times  The Wall Street Journal

Construction loans pick up as delinquencies edge down

Fourth-quarter construction loans totaling rose by $20 million from the preceding quarter, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. Nonresidential loan delinquencies declined by $30 million over the same period. Full Story: S&P Global

Half of construction’s job openings vanish

The number of construction job openings in January plummeted by 240,000, a result dubbed “simply shocking,” by Associated Builders and Contractors’ Chief Economist Anirban Basu. ABC’s monthly analysis of the Bureau of Labor Statistics data indicated there were 248,000 unfilled construction jobs in January, a sharp, 50% drop from the month before and 148,000 jobs below the same time last year. Basu even questioned the accuracy of the numbers. “While this construction job openings number is likely to be revised or at least eventually viewed as aberrational as new data arrive, there are likely some construction segments that have substantially slowed their pace of hiring,” said Basu.

Payroll employment rises by 311,000 in February; unemployment rate edges up to 3.6%

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 311,000 in February, and the unemployment rate edged up to 3.6 percent. Notable job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, retail trade, government, and health care. Employment declined in information and in transportation and warehousing.

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OSHA penalties may soon apply to each violation instance

A rule change may take effect later this month allowing each instance of a specific worksite violation to be fined individually by OSHA. Regional administrators will be given this authority for what they regard as “high-gravity” situations, with separate penalties that could be imposed, for instance, for each worker exposed to a hazard, according to lawyers. Full Story: Construction Dive

Analysis: What the PRO Act could cost employers

The Protecting the Right to Organize Act, if enacted, would come with substantial economic costs for employers, especially smaller businesses, writes Isabella Hindley, policy analyst at the American Action Forum. Hindley estimates the legislation, which includes reclassification of independent contractors, could shave as much as $2.3 trillion from GDP, including a $16.1 billion cost to employers by eliminating their ability to replace strikers. Full Story: American Action Forum 

What women workers say needs to change in construction

Addressing sexual harassment and accommodating mothers are some of the keys to supporting a diverse workforce, a recent survey of tradeswomen shows. Tradeswomen polled by NCCER have advice on how the industry can better attract and retain female workers. Retrieved from Pxhere.  It’s no secret that construction has a problem recruiting and retaining women. A new survey from the nonprofit National Center for Construction Education & Research highlights the unique benefits women bring to construction, obstacles they encounter getting into and staying in the industry and advice on what contractors can do about it.

One size does not fit all: Lack of proper PPE for women is dangerous

When her too-large safety vest caught on a door handle, Amy Roosa was jerked backward into the door. The contact resulted in a bruise. For women in construction, that’s an all-too-common occurrence.  Founder of The Safety Rack, a social media network that reviews PPE for women in the trades, Roosa said it’s typical for women in construction to have to don ill-fitting gear. The result can introduce new hazards, as protection equipment like a bright safety vest morphs into an injury risk. Amanda Guadarrama, project manager for Nashville, Tennessee-based Hardaway Construction, said she had experienced the exact same type of incident — a vest too big for her catching on something and jerking her back unexpectedly.  Sometimes the fit is too bad to even wear and work with. “If, for example, my gloves are too big on me, I am more likely to remove them to complete my job, thus putting myself at risk for injury that the gloves could have prevented,” said Roosa, who works as a risk control specialist senior for Gallagher, a Rolling Meadows, Illinois-based insurance and risk consulting firm.

Women in Construction Tech battles barriers

Women in Construction Tech started as a five-woman group two years ago and has grown to become an international organization with 100 members from New York, San Francisco, Boston, Madrid, Guatemala and Mexico. The objective is to overcome barriers that women at all career levels encounter across construction, including in venture capital and tech, says Antonia Elisa Soler Blasco, co-founder of the group and director of Hilti North America’s technology office. Full Story: Construction Dive 

Construction isn’t just about “swinging a hammer”

Women make up nearly 11% of the construction industry’s workforce, but the figure could be higher if they were aware of the opportunities beyond “being boots on the ground and swinging a hammer,” suggests Teresa Riley, president of the Grand Rapids, Mich., chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction. For example, in Marina, Calif., four women at Teichert Construction are part of an all-female crew responsible for everything from earthmoving to executing designs and digital engineering. Full Story: WOOD-TV (Grand Rapids, Mich.)   The Monterey County Herald (Calif.)

31 women leading the way in construction

Women still constitute only about 14% of the construction workforce but are growing in number as project managers, tradesworkers and CEOs. Construction Dive highlights 31 women with exceptional records in the industry for their accomplishments and leadership. Full Story: Construction Dive

How women say construction can win over more women

Recruiting more women into construction should begin with helping them realize in their youth that the industry can be a viable career path, according to one conclusion gleaned from a survey of 176 tradeswomen by The National Center for Construction Education & Research. The survey drew 770 responses, leveraging women’s actual experience and “the unique qualities they bring to the jobsite,” says Tim Taylor, NCCER’s director of research. Full Story: For Construction Pros

Biden’s budget could include tax hikes to cut deficit

President Joe Biden is set to release his budget plan today, and it is expected to include tax and savings measures designed to reduce federal budget deficits by $3 trillion over the next decade. Aspects of the plan are expected to include a tax on households worth more than $100 million and a higher tax on stock buybacks. Full Story: The New York Times (3/8),  The Wall Street Journal

AI can make construction safe, green, cost-effective

One estimate puts artificial intelligence adoption by businesses at 37%, but the construction industry as a whole has not bought in. Real estate entrepreneur Angelica Krystle Donati argues that AI offers great potential to solve some of the construction industry’s most nagging problems — safety, cost containment and sustainability. Full Story: Forbes (tiered subscription model)

Continent’s largest logistics park planned in Calif.

Seven years of construction are in store for what’s planned as the largest North American logistics and business park, valued at $25 billion. The net-zero World Logistics Center in Moreno Valley, Calif., will serve the entire continent’s supply chain, but plans also call for such amenities as restaurants, cafes and cultural spaces. Full Story: Building Design + Construction (free registration)

Jacobs to design, build water treatment plant in L.A.

Jacobs will build a $500 million water purification plant in Los Angeles under a progressive design-build contract, city authorities announced. Jacobs says its responsibilities include design, permitting, construction, start-up and commissioning for the facility, which will treat wastewater from the existing Donald C. Tillman Water Reclamation Plant with a series of advanced processes Full Story: Construction Dive

Construction underway on $1.2B resort in Calif.

Construction has begun on the first floor of what will be the $1.2 billion Gaylord Pacific Resort and Convention Center in Chula Vista, Calif. The 22-story project is expected to open in 2025. Full Story: KNSD-TV (San Diego)