November 7th, 2019
Volume 21, No. 45
Per the U.S. Department of Labor’s monthly employment situation report, the construction industry added 10,000 in October, pushing the total number of jobs in the industry over the past 12 months to 148,000. The construction industry’s annual 2% growth outpaced the overall 1.4% rate of jobs retained as investments in infrastructure remains steady. The monthly gain in jobs was boosted in part by an increase in single-family home building. The October report also found that unemployment in the construction industry was 4%, hourly earnings advanced 2.4% from last year to $30.95, which is higher than the overall private-sector average of $28.18. Despite the steady growth in construction employment, overall construction spending has declined 2% between September 2018 through September 2019. Industry experts point to ongoing trade disputes and higher tariffs as a factor in this decline.
Dodge Outlook Report Predicts Economic Slowdown to have Broad Based Impact on Total Construction Growth
Dodge Data & Analytics today released its 2020 Dodge Construction Outlook, a mainstay in construction industry forecasting and business planning. The report predicts that total U.S. construction starts will slip to $776 billion in 2020, a decline of 4% from the 2019 estimated level of activity.
“The recovery in construction starts that began during 2010 in the aftermath of the Great Recession is coming to an end,” stated Richard Branch, Chief Economist for Dodge Data & Analytics. “Easing economic growth driven by mounting trade tensions and lack of skilled labor will lead to a broad based, but orderly pullback in construction starts in 2020. After increasing 3% in 2018 construction starts dipped an estimated 1% in 2019 and will fall 4% in 2020.”
“Next year, however, will not be a repeat of what the construction industry endured during the Great Recession. Economic growth is slowing but is not anticipated to contract next year. Construction starts, therefore, will decline but the level of activity will remain close to recent highs. By major construction sector, the dollar value of starts for residential buildings will be down 6%, while starts for both nonresidential buildings and nonbuilding construction will drop 3%.”
The pattern of construction starts for more specific segments is as follows:
The 2020 Dodge Construction Outlook was presented at the 81st annual Outlook Executive Conference held by Dodge Data & Analytics at the Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel in Chicago, IL. Copies of the report with additional details by building sector can be ordered here or by calling (800) 591-4462.
We want to hear from you! Tell us how you are working to engage young people and new employees in the trades. Are you working with programs like Helmets to Hardhats? Does your company have a partnership with a local community college, university or apprenticeship program?? How do you connect with your local community?
The American Subcontractors Association is currently working to gather all of your amazing ideas to be able to share with other ASA chapters around the country. Let us know how you reach out to young, new talent, as well as your best practices in each initiative.
Have something exciting to share? Email us your ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can't wait to hear from you!
Last month, the U.S. Department of Labor published a final rule that provides greater clarity and flexibility to states as they identify the occupations for which they will conduct drug testing in the unemployment insurance (UI) program. "The flexibility offered in the new rule respects state differences with regard to employment drug testing across our country," said Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training John Pallasch. "This rule lays out a standard that states can individually meet under the facts of their specific economies and practices."
The Rule recognizes states' diverse situations by permitting (but not requiring) them to test unemployment compensation (UC) applicants for whom suitable work is only available in an occupation where drug testing is regularly conducted. In addition to specific occupations identified in the regulation, states can identify additional occupations where employers conduct drug testing as a standard eligibility requirement for obtaining or maintaining employment in the identified occupation in their state. While the final rule also maintains that any occupation listed in the rescinded 2016 final rule is among those that are drug tested "regularly," it provides new flexibility to states to also identify such occupations.
The Middle-Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 amended the Social Security Act to allow states to conduct drug testing for UC applicants for whom suitable work is only available in an occupation that regularly conducts drug testing. If a state chooses, it may deny UC to an applicant who tests positive for drug use under certain circumstances. Under the Middle-Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, the Secretary of Labor is required to issue regulations determining those occupations that regularly conduct drug testing. This new rule fulfills the Department's requirement to identify occupations that regularly conduct drug testing.
This rule-making follows a 2017 resolution of disapproval, passed by Congress and signed by the President, which revoked a previous rule aimed at imposing a one-size-fits-all standard on states identifying occupations for regular drug testing.
President Trump left the door open for a government shutdown when the current continuing resolution (CR) expires in 17 days. First, he said “'no, no, no” when asked by a reported if he would shut down the government because he is being impeached. Then he said, “It depends on -- it depends on what the negotiation -- I wouldn't commit to anything. It depends on what the negotiation is.”
ASA underwrites the legal costs of filing "friend-of-the-court" briefs to inform the Court regarding the broader impact of relevant cases throughout the country. We have won dozens of these cases since 1997, vindicating subcontractor rights today and into the future!
Each year, courts across the country hand down hundreds of decisions on federal and state laws, as well as court-made or "case"law, that apply to subcontractors' businesses. Many of the decisions impacting subcontractors interpret the contract provisions of subcontract agreements—provisions like pay-if-paid, hold harmless, duty-to-defend, and no-damages-for-delay. Some of these decisions are precedent-setting and carry significance for subcontractors across state lines.
ASA's Subcontractors Legal Defense Fund supports ASA's critical legal activities in precedent-setting cases to protect the interests of all subcontractors. ASA taps the SLDF to fund amicus curiae, or friend-of-the-court," briefs in appellate-level cases that would have a significant impact on subcontractor rights.
Your ASA Info Hub is one of the MOST IMPORTANT benefits of your ASA Membership! Within the Resources Section is a robust library of manuals, contract documents, newsletter archives, and much, much more.
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By a vote of 232-196, the House formalized the impeachment inquiry process with a package of rules that will govern open hearings on President Trump’s alleged wrongdoing. The vote split almost completely along partisan lines, with only two Democrats Reps. Van Drew (NJ) and Peterson (MN), splitting with their colleagues to vote against the resolution. Next week, the House Intelligence Committee will hold its first open hearings as part of the impeachment inquiry. The Committee will hear from William Taylor and George Kent on November 13th and on November 15th, the Committee will hear from former U.S. ambassador to the Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
November 12, 2019
January 7th, 2020
Payment Clauses: What to Watch For and How to Negotiate Them
by James Yand and Brian Esler
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