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On April 9, federal agency heads signed the “One Federal Decision Memorandum of Understanding,” which will further implement the administration's executive order to streamline the federal permitting process for major infrastructure projects. ABC expressed support for the executive order when it was announced in 2017. 

Prices for inputs to construction materials expanded 0.8 percent in March and are 5.8 percent higher than at the same time one year ago, according to an ABC analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Prices for nonresidential construction inputs increased 0.9 percent on a monthly basis and are up 5.6 percent year over year.

The U.S. construction industry lost 15,000 jobs on net in March, according to an ABC analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This represents a significant reversal from February, when the industry added a post-recession high of 65,000 net new jobs (upwardly revised from +61,000).

On April 3, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division launched the Payroll Audit Independent Determination program, a new nationwide pilot program to assist employers in expediting the resolution of inadvertent overtime and minimum wage violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The pilot program will be implemented for approximately six months nationwide.

On March 19, 2018, the U.S. Department of Commerce began accepting exclusion requests from U.S. industry for the recently announced tariffs on steel and aluminum product imports. According to the notice published in the Federal Register, “individuals or organizations using steel or aluminum articles identified in presidential proclamations 9704 and 9705 and engaged in business activities in the United States may submit exclusion requests.” 

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division released several videos that will assist employers with complying with the requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The February 2018 not seasonally adjusted national construction unemployment rate was 7.8 percent, down 1 percent from February 2017 and the lowest national February rate on record, according to an analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data released by ABC. Estimated construction unemployment rates were down in 34 states on a year-over-year basis, unchanged in one state (Arizona) and up in 15 states.

Nonresidential construction spending inched 0.1 percent higher in February, according to an ABC analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. Nonresidential spending, which totaled $732.8 billion on a seasonally adjusted, annualized basis, has expanded 1.3 percent since February 2017.

On March 20, Administrator Linda McMahon of the U.S. Small Business Administration announced the 2018 recipients of the National Small Business Week awards, including ABC member Hensel Phelps Construction Co.

ABC announced ACI Mechanical as its Contractor of the Year, National Diversity Excellence Award winners, National Safety Award winners and America’s top construction projects at the annual Excellence in Construction® Awards on March 21 at ABC Convention 2018.

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