Transportation Secretary Foxx Announces Grants to Accelerate Innovative Transportation Projects

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced more than $4 million in grants from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) designed to accelerate innovation in highway project delivery. The funds are intended to help to get roads and bridges repaired and built faster and more efficiently. Additional grants will be announced in coming weeks.

“These innovative investments will give drivers time back with their families instead of sitting in snarled traffic caused by longer than necessary road and bridge repairs and replacement,” said Secretary Foxx. “Creativity is key to innovation, and we have the know-how, which underscores the need for the cost-effective infrastructure investments Continue Reading


Construction Backlog is on the Rise

ABC’s Construction Backlog Indicator (CBI) reached an all-time high in the second quarter of 2014, according to a report issued Aug. 19. After falling 2.8 percent in the first quarter, second quarter CBI improved 5.4 percent to reach 8.5 months. In addition, there were gains in every industry segment, in nearly all geographic regions and for firms of almost all sizes. ABC’s chief economist expects that trend to continue.

“Industry momentum was snuffed out by a seemingly endless winter, but the pace of industry recovery has been accelerating ever since,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “Further increases in construction backlog are Continue Reading


Architecture Billings Index Reaches Highest Mark Since 2007

 The last three months have shown steadily increasing demand for design services and the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) is now at its highest level since 2007. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to 12 month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the July ABI score was 55.8, up noticeably from a mark of 53.5 in June. This score reflects an increase in design activity (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 66.0, following a very strong mark Continue Reading


Builder Confidence Rises Two Points in August

Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes rose two points to 55 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) for August, released Aug. 18. This third consecutive monthly gain brings the index to its highest level since January.

“As the employment picture brightens, builders are seeing a noticeable increase in the number of serious buyers entering the market,” said NAHB Chairman Kevin Kelly, a home builder and developer from Wilmington, Del. “However, builders still face a number of challenges, including tight credit conditions for borrowers and shortages of finished lots and labor.”

Derived from a Continue Reading


Combined Single- and Multifamily Gains Boost Housing Starts in July

Fueled by strong single- and multifamily growth, nationwide housing starts rose 15.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.093 million units in July, the highest level since November 2013, according to newly released figures from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau.

“A return to production levels over one million confirms that consumer confidence continues to improve,” said Kevin Kelly, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Wilmington, Del. “Propelled by a healthier economy, more and more people are feeling ready to buy a home.”

Single-family Continue Reading


Construction Employment Grows in July Amid Concerns about Worker Availability

Construction firms added jobs in 39 states from July 2013 to July 2014 and in 34 states from June to July, according to an Aug. 18 analysis of Labor Department data by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials said the employment gains are good news, but that the pipeline of skilled craft workers, supervisors and other employees appears to be emptying rapidly.

“The overall trend in construction employment has been very consistent in 2014, with more than three-fourths of states adding jobs each month on a year-over-year basis,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “However, growing numbers of contractors say they are having trouble finding skilled workers or subcontractors that can supply such workers.”

Nevada experienced the largest percentage increase in construction employment between July 2013 and July 2014 (13.4 percent, 7,500 construction jobs), followed by Delaware (13.3 percent, 2,600 jobs) and Florida (11.1 percent, 40,600 jobs). Florida again led all states in the number of construction jobs added in the latest 12 months, followed by Texas (23,600 jobs, 3.8 percent) and California (22,600 jobs, 3.6 percent).

The District of Columbia and 11 states shed construction jobs during the past 12 months, with New Jersey again losing the highest percentage and total (-6.5 percent, -8,900 jobs). Other states that lost a high percentage of jobs include West Virginia (-5.8 percent, -2,000 jobs), Mississippi (-5.6 percent, -2,900 jobs) and Arizona (-4.8 percent, -5,900 jobs). Arizona lost the second-highest number of construction jobs during the year, followed by Mississippi, then West Virginia.

Delaware had the largest percentage gain (5.7 percent, 1,200 jobs) among the 34 states that added construction workers to payrolls between June and July. Other states adding large percentages of workers in the month included Alabama (4.9 percent, 3,800 jobs), Kentucky (3.4 percent, 2,200 jobs), New Mexico (3.1 percent, 1,200 jobs), and Virginia (2.6 percent, 4,700 jobs). Virginia added the most workers during the month, followed by Florida (4,400 jobs, 1.1 percent), Texas (4,000 jobs, 0.6 percent) and Alabama.

Fifteen states and D.C. lost construction jobs between June and July, while construction employment was unchanged in Rhode Island. California lost the most construction jobs during the month (-6,400 jobs, -1.0 percent). Other states with large monthly declines in total construction employment included New York (-3,500 jobs, -1.1 percent), Georgia (-1,500 jobs, -1.0 percent), Nebraska (-1,400 jobs, -3.0 percent) and Kansas (-1,100 jobs, -1.8 percent). Nebraska had the highest monthly percentage decline, followed by West Virginia (-1.8 percent, -600 jobs) and Kansas.

Association officials said it is encouraging that a large majority of states added construction jobs for the year and the month. However, they cautioned that construction firms in many parts of the country appear to be experiencing varying amounts of labor shortages. They said that while worker shortages appear most severe in fast-growing states like Colorado and Texas, there is still time for elected officials to act on the association’s workforce development suggestions before shortages become more widespread.

“We are at real risk of going from a situation where firms couldn’t hire because there wasn’t enough demand to firms not being able to hire because there aren’t enough qualified workers,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer.

View the state employment data by rank and state.

Source: Associated General Contractors of America


Komatsu Opens New Distribution Center at Oyama Plant

Komatsu Ltd. recently commenced operation at the newly constructed Kanto Spare Parts Distribution Center on the premises of the Oyama Plant  in Japan.Combined with the Global Operation Center, a new organization to comprehensively control the sales, production and inventory of spare parts of construction equipment, the new Distribution Center is positioned as Komatsu Group’s global spare parts center. The new Distribution Center is equipped with a new global operation system exclusively designed for global standard spare parts, a warehouse management system, and leading-edge ICT equipment. It achieves impressive improvements of efficiency in the spare parts operation.  With respect to energy savings Continue Reading


Confidence Eeases in Equipment Leasing and Finance Industry

The Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation  released the August 2014 Monthly Confidence Index for the Equipment Finance Industry (MCI-EFI) on Aug. 21. Designed to collect leadership data, the index reports a qualitative assessment of both the prevailing business conditions and expectations for the future as reported by key executives from the $827 billion equipment finance sector. Overall, confidence in the equipment finance market is 58.9, easing from the previous two months’ indexes of 61.4.

When asked about the outlook for the future, MCI-EFI survey respondent Thomas Jaschik, president, BB&T Equipment Finance, said, “The next two months will be very interesting for the Continue Reading


Atlas Copco’s Water for All Celebrates 30 Years

Aug. 22, 2014,  marked  the 30-year anniversary of the founding of Water for All, Atlas Copco’s main community engagement project, initiated and driven on local level by Atlas Copco employees. Its mission is to provide people in need with long-term access to clean drinking water.

What once was a one-time initiative to collect money to a project in Peru has grown into a worldwide initiative with presence in 35 countries. Water for All has helped more than 1.5 million people get access to clean drinking water.

“The need for clean drinking water in the world is huge and we are

very proud of the Continue Reading


Hyundai Construction Equipment and Werk-Brau Attachments to Partner

Hyundai Construction Equipment Americas, Inc. announced their partnership with Werk-Brau, an attachment manufacturer, to provide a wider array of attachment options to their customers.

Werk-Brau offers a complete line of reliable O.E.M. and replacement attachments for construction equipment including heavy duty excavator and mini-excavator buckets, ditch cleaning and draining buckets, hydraulic and mechanical quick couplers and hydraulic and manual thumbs.

Hyundai’s partnership with Werk-Brau will allow customers to purchase Hyundai equipment with Werk-Brau attachments through Hyundai’s dealer network. Werk-Brau will be responsible for the timing and delivery of all products directly to the customer’s locations.

Since 1947, Werk-Brau has manufactured the highest quality and Continue Reading