Around the Globe: July 2018
Eurobitume announced two more members have joined the association. Rosneft Deutschland GmbH, a subsidiary of leading Russian petroleum company Rosneft, and GCN Suisse, which buys, sells and supplies bitumen, joined Eurobitume’s expanding group of members at the Association’s spring meeting in Brussels.
Hitachi Construction Machinery Corporation, Tokyo, and Deere & Company, Moline, Illinois, celebrated May 19 a 30-year anniversary of joint venture: the Deere-Hitachi Construction Machinery Corporation. Since the start of operations in 1988, Deere-Hitachi has manufactured over 55,000 hydraulic excavators for the North, Central and South American markets. The manufacturing facility in Kernersville, North Carolina, where 1,500 attendees participated in the anniversary event, is 1 million square feet and brings the latest in technological innovation and a skilled workforce of over 800 employees.
Safe + Sound Week takes place Aug. 13 through 19. Get ready to show your commitment to safety and health through management leadership, worker participation, and a systematic approach to finding and fixing hazards. Visit https://www.osha.gov/safeandsound/ for tips and ideas.
Join the 5th Annual Giannetti Contracting Golf Classic to benefit Construction Angels Aug. 16 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Fort Lauderdale Country Club in Florida. Visit the http://constructionangels.us/ events tab for information.
- The 2015 passage of Georgia’s Transportation Funding Act (TFA) allowed the state to address many of its transportation challenges by investing in road, highway and bridge repairs, roadway safety improvements, and congestion relief. Despite this progress, the state will still need additional increases in reliable transportation funding to maintain its aging transportation system, improve traffic safety and serve the future needs of Georgia’s growing economy, according to a new report released May 31 by TRIP, based in Washington, D.C. The TRIP report, “Modernizing Georgia’s Transportation System: Progress & Challenges in Providing Safe, Efficient and Well-Maintained Roads, Highways & Bridges,” examines the impact of additional funds provided by passage of the TFA—a total of $5.4 billion from 2016 to 2021—and includes lists of projects throughout the state that will be completed or underway by 2021 partially as a result of increased transportation funding. The report also lists needed projects throughout the state that still lack sufficient funding to proceed prior to 2022. Get the full report at tripnet.org.
- Stone Matrix Asphalt (SMA) gets the props it deserves this fall with its first international conference to be held at the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel in Atlanta from Nov. 5 through 7. Visit www.asphaltpavement.org events tab for info.
Bridgestone Americas Inc. (Bridgestone), Nashville, announced that its Off-the-Road Tire Plant in Bloomington, Illinois, recently achieved the highest level in the Caterpillar Supplier Quality Excellence Process (SQEP) Certification—Platinum Level for a second consecutive year. This represents a significant milestone for Bridgestone, after the Bloomington Plant received Gold Level in the Caterpillar SQEP Certification for the previous two years.
Rotochopper Inc., St. Martin, Minnesota, hosted the “Rewriting the Rural Narrative” meeting of Central Minnesota Manufacturers Association in April to discuss the in-migration of 30- to 49-year-olds in rural communities.
Construction employment increased in 256 out of 358 metro areas between April 2017 and April 2018, declined in 63 and was unchanged in 39, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released May 30 by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), Arlington, Virginia. Association officials said that the data showed a continuation of strong labor demand amid shortages of qualified workers.
“Industry demand is still showing strength, as construction employment reached a new high in 54 metro areas,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist.
Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas, added the most construction jobs during the past year (12,400 jobs, 9 percent), followed by Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas (12,200 jobs, 6 percent); Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Arizona (11,000 jobs, 10 percent); Midland, Texas (8,000 jobs, 31 percent) and Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nevada (7,700 jobs, 13 percent). The largest percentage gains occurred in the Midland, Texas, metro area, followed by Merced, California (29 percent, 700 jobs); New Bedford, Massachusetts (20 percent, 500 jobs); Atlantic City-Hammonton, New Jersey (19 percent, 1,000 jobs) and Weirton-Steubenville, West Virginia-Ohio (19 percent, 300 jobs).
The largest job losses from April 2017 to April 2018 were in St. Louis, Missouri-Illinois (-3,100 jobs, -5 percent), followed by Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean, New Jersey (-2,900 jobs, -7 percent); Montgomery County-Bucks County-Chester County, Pennsylvania (-2,800 jobs, -5 percent); Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minnesota-Wisconsin (-2,400 jobs, -3 percent) and Columbia, South Carolina (-2,200 jobs, -11 percent).
Association officials said that despite these widespread employment increases, many contractors report difficulty in finding qualified workers. With the national unemployment rate at a 17-year low and many metro unemployment rates at new record lows for April, finding workers is not expected to get easier in the near future. They added that education and training initiatives are the best way to increase the pool of skilled workers, creating a new generation of carpenters, electricians, and others, while giving Americans access to highly rewarding work.
“The good news is that the strong economy is driving demand for many types of construction projects,” CEO Stephen E. Sandherr said.
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt signed May 10 a memorandum outlining a “Back-to-Basics” process for reviewing National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) under the Clean Air Act. This memo ensures that EPA and its independent science advisors follow a transparent, timely, and efficient process in reviewing and revising public health- and welfare-based NAAQS. Source: EPA Office of Media Relations
- Mark your calendar to support young asphalt industry leaders by attending the 2018 IMPACT Leadership Conference at the Madison Hotel in Washington, D.C., this Sept. 12 through 14. Get more info at www.asphaltpavement.org in the events tab.