SBE News

Capitol Update 4/17/2023

New Member of CSLB Governor Newsom appointed

Amanda Gallo (D – Oakland), management analyst in the Fremont City Manager’s Office, to the Contractors State License Board. Salary: $100 per diem. She was a Senior Policy Analyst at the Santa Clara County Housing Authority from 2014 to 2018. Gallo is a member of the Municipal Management Association of Northern California, Emerge California, and the New Leaders Council in Oakland. She earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Santa Clara University and a Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. This position requires Senate confirmation.

PPI for final demand declines 0.5% in March; goods fall 1.0%, services decrease 0.3%

The Producer Price Index for final demand declined 0.5 percent in March. Prices for final demand goods decreased 1.0 percent, and the index for final demand services moved down 0.3 percent. Prices for final demand advanced 2.7 percent for the 12 months ended in March.

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CPI for all items rises 0.1% in March as shelter increases

In March, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers increased 0.1 percent, seasonally adjusted, and rose 5.0 percent over the last 12 months, not seasonally adjusted. The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.4 percent in March (SA); up 5.6 percent over the year (NSA).

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Construction industry lost 9,000 jobs in March

Construction unemployment eased to 5.6% in March even as the industry lost 9,000 jobs, marking the first decline in 14 months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Residential and nonresidential trade contractors lost 13,900 jobs, but heavy and civil construction added 7,100 jobs. Full Story: Engineering News-Record (tiered subscription model)

Dodge Momentum Index falls 8.6% in March

A 12.9% drop in the institutional component and a 6.6% drop in the commercial component caused the Dodge Momentum Index to fall 8.6% last month. Negative factors included stiffer lending standards amid banking insecurities, although the index is expected “to work its way back to historical norms throughout 2023, concurrent with weaker economic conditions,” says Sarah Martin, Dodge Construction Network’s associate director of forecasting. Full Story: Dodge Data & Analytics  

Firms likely to post biggest pandemic-era profit decline

Wall Street analysts expect companies to report the biggest drop in profit since the onset of the pandemic. S&P 500 companies are expected to post an average year-over-year decline of 6.8% for the first quarter, according to projections complied by FactSet. The largest banks are expected to post an average year-over-year decline of 10%, according to estimates compiled by Refinitiv. Full Story: Financial Times (subscription required)  Reuters

Construction spending inches down in Feb.

An uptick in private nonresidential construction wasn’t enough to avoid a 0.1% month-over-month decline in February for overall construction spending, according to the Associated General Contractors of America. The private residential category declined 0.6%, public construction eased 0.2% and private nonresidential gained 0.7%. Full Story: Daily Commercial News (Ontario)

N. American construction crane total rises in Q1

Construction cranes evident across North America increased 7% in the first quarter from the Q3 count, according to Rider Levett Bucknall. Toronto led the way by a wide margin with 238 cranes, followed by Seattle with 51 and Los Angeles with 47. Residential projects accounted for 51% of cranes, mixed-use accounted for 22% and commercial accounted for 12%. Full Story: Building Design + Construction (free registration)

OSHA to ramp up effort toward infrastructure safety

OSHA says its focus on construction safety will increase as funding from the bipartisan infrastructure law flows into the industry. OSHA Directorate of Construction Director Scott Ketcham notes a high rate of suicide in the industry and says the agency plans to concentrate on that, as well as safety across all types of infrastructure work. Full Story: Construction Dive  

Q&A: Support network key for women in construction

“Construction is absolutely an excellent job choice for women,” says Heather Groves, a consulting inspector for the Maine Department of Transportation and owner of Cole River Consultants. Groves explains how she was drawn to the industry and why women must develop a support network. Full Story: Construction Dive  

AGC seeks immigration reform, investment in training

The Associated General Contractors of America wants Congress to address the construction industry’s dearth of qualified labor by prioritizing immigration reform and by increasing investment in training. AGC says students should have a chance to explore alternatives to a bachelor’s degree, potentially finding a high-paying career in construction. Full Story: Global Construction Review (UK)  

WOTUS expansion blocked in 24 states

A judge in North Dakota has granted a temporary injunction in 24 states against the Biden administration’s expanded definition of waters of the US. The expansion, which applies to seasonal streams and wetlands, forces states to “expend unrecoverable resources complying with a rule unlikely to withstand judicial scrutiny,” the judge says. Full Story: Reuters  

FHWA seeks input for speedier environmental reviews

The Federal Highway Administration is soliciting feedback from the public and private stakeholders on ways to improve environmental reviews to mitigate delays on intercity rail and public transportation projects. The FHWA wants to know what forms of aid, such as technical assistance or training, would most help entities that receive money for surface transportation projects. Full Story: Railway Age

Yellen: Tighter bank credit could boost inflation fight

Banks might pull back on credit as a result of last month’s turmoil, potentially aiding the Federal Reserve’s effort to cool inflation, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says. “Banks are likely to become somewhat more cautious in this environment,” Yellen says, noting a restriction in credit “could be a substitute for further interest-rate hikes that the Fed needs to make.” Full Story: CNN    Reuters

35% decline expected in warehouse projects in 2023

Interact Analysis projects 6,700 warehouses will enter the global building pipeline this year, down 35% compared with last year but well above the pre-pandemic total. The projection accounts for a “meaningful” US economic downturn during the next 12 to 18 months, although the US and China are expected to continue leading warehouse construction. Full Story: Plant Engineering  

Legislative Calendar:

·        April 10 – Legislature reconvenes

·        April 28 – Last day for policy committees to hear fiscal bills

·        May 5 – Last day for policy committees to hear non-fiscal bills

·        May 12 – Last day for policy committees to meet before June 5

·        May 19 – Last day for fiscal committeesto hear and report to the floor bills introduced in their house

·        June 2 – Last day for each house to pass bills introduced in that house