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More than 500 ABC members came to Washington, D.C., for meetings with top administration and congressional leaders on the issues that impact the merit shop construction industry at both the federal and state levels during Legislative Week 2018. To lead off, ABC’s Executive Committee met with President Trump, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Senior Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump at the White House to talk about the positive economic effects of tax reform, regulatory relief and dynamic enhancements to workforce development efforts on June 26. 

Today, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration sent out a release reminding certain employers that the deadline for submitting their 2017 Form 300A data through OSHA’s Injury Tracking Application is July 1. Learn which establishments are covered by this requirement and need to provide their 2017 Form 300A data through OSHA’s ITA.

More than 100 industry leaders and stakeholders came together June 25 for ABC's fourth annual Diversity & Inclusion Summit to discuss the value of diversity in construction and promote the association's mission within diverse groups.

Adding to a long list of honors ABC’s Construction Executive magazine has won since its launch in 2003, the CE mobile app won silver at the 2018 Excel Awards, which recognize excellence and leadership in nonprofit association media, publishing, marketing and communications. The award was presented June 25 during a gala at the Association Media & Publishing Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

ABC and access equipment manufacturer JLG Industries Inc. today announced a strategic partnership that will help solve industry challenges with world-class education, training and equipment solutions. The announcement was made by company executives in Washington, D.C., during ABC’s Legislative Week.

Estimated May construction unemployment rates fell in 45 states on a year-over-year basis, rose in four states and were unchanged in one state (Alabama), according to an analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data by ABC. The May 2018 not seasonally adjusted national construction unemployment rate fell 0.9 percent from May 2017 to 4.4 percent, the lowest May rate on record. At the same time, the construction industry employed 291,000 more workers nationally than in May 2017.

ABC has teamed up with more than two dozen real estate industry trade associations to highlight the rich variety of career paths in the real estate sector. The group collaborated on a new website, CareersBuildingCommunities.org, which allows visitors to navigate through the scores of career paths across all sectors of real estate as the industry confronts the need to fill millions of jobs in the coming decades.

ABC is thrilled to announce that Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), chairwoman of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce, will join Josh Kraushaar, political editor of National Journal, as the headline speakers for the Legislative Breakfast on Wednesday, June 27. 

ABC’s Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter and Orleans Technical College recently announced that they are working together on a new apprenticeship training center in Philadelphia County. Their goal is to help create more apprenticeships in the region and more diversity in the construction and trades community. The facility will also and provide employers with the chance to advance their employees’ skillsets through the state-approved NCCER merit-based training curriculum.

Despite ongoing concerns regarding labor force availability and rising interest rates, and emerging concerns regarding tariffs and construction materials prices, construction contractors emerged from the first quarter of 2018 with tremendous confidence, according to the ABC Construction Confidence Index. Each of the three indices—sales, profit margins and staffing levels—increased during the first quarter and remain well above the threshold reading of 50.

ABC said the Trump administration’s action to undo the harmful impacts of the Affordable Care Act by promulgating a new final rule on association health plans (AHPs) was welcome. AHPs are a common-sense solution to expand access to affordable health coverage and lower the cost of health care for small businesses.

Cianbro Corporation of Pittsfield, Maine, a member of ABC’s Maine Chapter and five others, has been awarded Accredited Quality Contractor (AQC) status by ABC. The AQC program recognizes and honors construction firms that document their commitment to excellence in five key areas of corporate responsibility: quality, safety, employee benefits, training and community relations.

ABC reports that its Construction Backlog Indicator (CBI) contracted to 8.8 months during the first quarter of 2018, down 9 percent from the prior quarter. CBI is down 2 percent on a year-over-year basis. “The Construction Backlog Indicator hit an all-time high during the fourth quarter of 2017,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu.

On June 15, OSHA announced that it will extend the comment period on its proposal to ensure crane operators are qualified to safely operate equipment by an additional 15 days. Comments will now be accepted through July 5, 2018.

Prices for inputs to construction materials expanded 2.2 percent in May and are 8.8 percent higher than at the same time one year ago, according to an ABC analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. This represents the largest monthly increase in 10 years (since May 2008). Nonresidential construction input prices increased 2.3 percent for the month and 8.9 percent for the year.

A study released by the Minnesota Center for Fiscal Excellence found that the prevailing wage determination process utilized by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry leads to inaccurate wage rates on construction projects. A disproportionate 75 percent of prevailing wages reflected union rates in the period analyzed in the study, even though just 32 percent of private construction workers in Minnesota belong to a union.

The Michigan Legislature voted to repeal Michigan’s prevailing wage law, a 50-year-old law that overcharges taxpayers on public construction projects and limits competitive bidding opportunities for Michigan workers. The historic vote makes Michigan the 24th state without a prevailing wage law. 

On Friday, June 1, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it would provide an additional 15,000 H-2B visas for non-agricultural seasonal workers. Earlier this year, Congress included a provision in the Fiscal Year 2018 omnibus spending bill that allowed for DHS to increase the number of H-2B visas above the 66,000 statutory cap.

On May 31, U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Acosta and Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), chairwoman of the House Education and Workforce Committee, visited a jobsite of Omega Construction, an ABC member headquartered in Winston Salem, N.C. Secretary Acosta and Rep. Foxx toured the Hotel Indigo renovation, guided by Omega Construction President Barry Hennings, and met with employees and apprentices.

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.

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