Trump’s Infrastructure Plan Continues to Get Cheers and Jeers

Moody’s Investment Services reports that President Trump’s $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan could create more private investment through public-private partnerships (P3s), according Construction Dive.

At a press conference hosted by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), leaders of public transportation agencies across the country warned of the serious consequences to Trump’s proposed $52 billion in budget cuts to federal transit funding. Paul P. Skoutelas, APTA’s CEO said 53 projects in the pipeline across the nation, and 500,000 jobs, including both general construction and related manufacturing jobs, would be at risk because of the proposed cuts, report

Construction Materials Prices Continue to Expand Briskly in February

Overall construction input prices rose 0.7 percent in February, slightly lower than the rate set in January, according to an Associated Builders and Contractor’s analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Compared to February 2017, prices are up 5.2 percent. Nonresidential construction materials prices are also up 0.4 percent on a monthly basis and 4.9 percent compared to the same time last year.

“For the last several months, construction firms have become increasingly concerned about rising construction materials prices,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu in a press release on March 14. “Today’s data show those concerns are warranted. A confluence of factors will likely continue to push materials prices higher in the months to come. These factors include global monetary policy, which continues to help accelerate growth in much of the world, a strong U.S. construction market and a policymaking environment that has impacted the price of softwood lumber, steel and aluminum.”

Read the full report to find out how the steel tariffs may affect the construction industry.

Construction Employment Growth Surges in February

February was the best month for construction employment gains since March 2007, according to ABC’s analysis of an employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The sector added 61,000 net new jobs on a monthly basis in February, an increase of 0.9 percent, and 254,000 net new jobs on a yearly basis, an increase of 3.7 percent.

Nonresidential construction added 35,400 net new jobs in February after adding 21,000 net new jobs in January. Although gains were widespread among all five major construction subsectors, nonresidential specialty trade contractors outperformed them all with 19,000 net new jobs.

The construction industry unemployment rate, which is available only on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, increased by half a percentage point in February and stands at 7.8 percent. Despite the month-over-month increase, which is likely attributable to seasonal factors, the industry’s unemployment rate is a full percentage point lower than at the same time one year ago. The national unemployment rate for all industries remained unchanged at 4.1 percent.

Read ABC’s full analysis.

Updated Infrastructure Integral to Building Smart Cities

The smart city industry, including updated infrastructure, is projected to be a $400 billion market by 2020, according to research from McKinsey.’s post on the topic offers resources for cities looking to develop their technology capabilities in infrastructure.