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Nonresidential construction spending remained unchanged in April on a monthly basis, according to an ABC analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. However, year-over-year spending was up a sturdy 6.1 percent.

The U.S. construction industry added 25,000 net new jobs in May, according to ABC’s analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This follows a 21,000 net job gain in April (revised upward from 17,000). The industry has gained 286,000 jobs on a year-over-year basis, the largest such increase since April 2016.

Estimated April construction unemployment rates fell in 19 states on a year-over-year basis, were unchanged in four states and rose in 27 states, according to an analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data released by ABC.

FindContractors.com is an excellent tool to help members find and do business with other members. Members can search for an ABC contractor, supplier or other construction professional by name, chapter, location, sales volume or type of construction. Plus, now members can identify all Accredited Quality Contractors—firms that have demonstrated their commitment to the five key areas of corporate responsibility: quality, safety, training, employee benefits and the community.

The employment projections assume that the administration’s $1.5 trillion proposed infrastructure plan, if enacted, will result in $50 billion in additional construction spending in 2019 on top of the baseline construction spending forecast; $150 billion additional spending in 2020; and $200 billion more in 2021. Thus, demand for additional construction workers above the baseline estimate for each year would be 323,000 in 2019, 960,000 more workers in 2020 and 1.3 million more workers in 2021.

ABC’s 1991 President, Johnny Barto Smith, passed away on May 19, 2018 at the age of 78. Smith owned and operated Lake Mechanical Contractors of Eustis, Fla., formerly called Lake Plumbing, a company his parents founded in 1954. Under Smith’s leadership, Lake Mechanical completed a number of impressive projects with Walt Disney World. Lake Mechanical also created the University of Central Florida Bright House Networks Stadium and the 34-story expansion of the Peabody on International Drive. 

In testimony before a subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Kwest Group President and Chairman of the ABC National Safety and Health Committee Ryan Odendahl called for a collaborative effort between industry and the federal government to increase workplace safety and promote economic opportunity in the United States.

On May 21, 2018, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a proposed rule to update its standard for cranes and derricks in construction to ensure crane operators are qualified to safely operate equipment. Entitled Cranes and Derricks in Construction: Operator Qualification, the rule proposes several changes to the existing standard.

On May 21, in a win for employers, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right of employers to use mandatory arbitration clauses under the Federal Arbitration Act to block the filing of class-action lawsuits over workplace issues. In a 5-4 decision, the majority rejected arguments that forcing those cases into private, individual arbitration violated employees' rights under the National Labor Relations Act.

On May 16, ABC Legislative Affairs staff participated in the Prior Approval Reform Coalition Hill Day and met with members of Congress about the discriminatory and burdensome “prior approval” requirement for corporate member trade association political action committees. The coalition met with 99 members’ offices and encouraged representatives to sign on as cosponsors to Rep. Mark Amodei’s (R-Nev.) H.R. 2101, the Prior Approval Reform Act.

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