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North Hanley Metro Market on Oct. 11th – Free Event

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Citizens for Modern Transit and AARP in St. Louis to Host Free, Pop-Up Metro Market at the North Hanley MetroLink Station on Oct. 11

Residents will be Encouraged to Provide Feedback on What They Would Like to See at the Site

Citizens for Modern Transit (CMT) and AARP in St. Louis have announced plans to host a pop-up Metro Market on Wednesday, Oct. 11, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the North Hanley MetroLink Station (4398 Hanley Road, 63134). The event will temporarily transform a portion of the expansive parking lot into an active space that connects people to products, services and green spaces; showcasing how areas around transit stations can become focal points for activity. This event is free, and community members of all ages are encouraged to attend.

Last year, CMT, AARP and community stakeholders completed walk audits of three key MetroLink stations, including the one at North Hanley. Short and long-term recommendations for improving the functionality of the stations were identified, as well as means for making them safer and more vibrant destinations. An action plan is currently being executed, and a series of improvements have been completed with others currently underway. The next step is to give stakeholders, riders and the general public a peek at what is possible by way of the pop-up Metro Market on Oct. 11. A main area of focus for organizers is getting community feedback.


“This event is designed to give community members a sneak peek at what the area around this MetroLink station could look like,” commented Kim Cella, executive director of Citizens for Modern Transit. “But, it doesn’t stop there. We want it to serve as catalyst for obtaining community input. We want to find out what matters to local residents, determine what they want to see come to life. And, we are going to have a number of creative means for allowing them to do so.”

The St. Louis County Department of Planning will be facilitating an activity that allows residents to help create an oversized, three dimensional, Monopoly game board-type model illustrating what they would like to see onsite. There will be a video-taped, Self-Expression Stop that enables those interested to share their vision for the area through poetry, rapping, dancing or a monolog. Chalk and an oversized banner will also be made available for those interested in drawing or writing down their thoughts. For inspiration, several murals – created by Brock Seals, a local artist and student at the University of Missouri-St. Louis – will be on display.
The event will also feature the “2 Girls, 4 Wheels” and “STL Kettle Corn” food trucks, Tai Chi mini-sessions, educational resources on how to build a healthy plate from the St. Louis County Department of Health, live music from WFUN 95.5 FM R&B Old School, a St. Louis County Police Department recruiting station, the opportunity to meet and interact with adoptable animal through the St. Louis County Animal Shelter, a cooking demonstration, free apples, an appearance by MoDOT’s Barrel Bob and information from the Central County Precinct Neighborhood Policing Unit.

The brand new onsite Link Market (LINK) will also be open for business providing access to healthy, affordable food options that can be purchased through any form of payment, including EBT and the EBT DoubleBucks programs. Plus, area residents will be able to learn more about the new community library box being considered for this site. This free, onsite “library,” offered by the St. Louis Promise Zone in partnership with the St. Louis County Library’s Recycled Reads program, gives surplus library materials another life by circulating them throughout the community. No library card is required to borrow the materials, and there are no fines or due dates. Individuals are asked to return the items whenever they’re finished. A total of 10 Promise Zone Community Libraries are set to be installed this year as a means to increase literacy in North St. Louis County.

“We are bringing the concept of space activation to life so people of all ages will be better able to visualize the potential that exists to create safer, more livable communities around transit stations,” added Sheila Holm, community outreach director for AARP St. Louis. “We are also hoping it will prompt those in attendance to share their thoughts on the experience and the types of enhancements they would like to see.”

The pop-up Metro Market is being made possible thanks to funding received through the AARP Community Challenge Grant program, which invested $780,000 in 89 different community projects nationwide  to help create change and improve the quality of life for people of all ages. Other event partners include the University of Missouri-St. Louis, the St. Louis County Department of Planning, the St. Louis County Department of Health, the Missouri Department of Transportation, St. Louis County Police, Bi-State Development/Metro Transit, Theis Farm and Greenhouses and the ATU Local 788.

To learn more, call Citizens for Modern Transit at (314) 231-7272, visit www.cmt-stl.org<http://www.cmt-stl.org>, or search for the event on Facebook and other social channels using #GrowingwithTransit.

Citizens for Modern Transit is a nonprofit, member supported organization that leads efforts for an integrated, affordable, and convenient public transportation system with light rail expansion as the critical component that will drive economic growth to improve quality of life in the St. Louis region.

AARP St. Louis is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of more than 300,000 members, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families.

 

Electrical Connection Donates Services to Rebuild Electrical Systems in Home for Disabled Mother

in Associations/News

Debbie Augustine thought she was on the threshold of stabilizing her life after recovering from a coma and a serious illness.  The 47-year-old mother bought a home next door to her parents’ house on Mitchell Avenue in St. Louis only to find it had serious electrical issues that would cost $4,800 to repair.

“My daughter and I had been through so much and it finally looked like we going to have a home of our own,” said Augustine.  “But the electrical issues were overwhelming, creating unsafe living conditions.  I had limited resources to buy the home and nothing left for the needed repairs.”

After buying the home in the 6900 block of Mitchell and learning of its electrical issues, Augustine met Jim Curran, executive vice president of the Electrical Connection, a partnership of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1 and the St. Louis Chapter, National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA).  Curran detailed Augustine’s plight to the Electrical Connection board and within days the IBEW/NECA partnership agreed to pay for the electrical repairs.

“The Electrical Connection is such a blessing in my life,” said Augustine.  “IBEW/NECA rebuilt my electrical systems ensuring my daughter and I can live safely in our new home.”

Augustine’s medical issues began two years ago when she suffered a cardiopulmonary illness that put her in a coma for seven days.  Forced onto disability, Augustine and her daughter, Dakota, moved in with her parents who lived on Mitchell Ave. in St. Louis.  “I was grateful, but for my parents, myself and my daughter it was cramped quarters,” said Augustine.

Augustine said she thought her prayers were answered when the home next door went up for sale.  But after purchasing it, she learned it had significant issues with the electrical service into to the home, including improper wiring, a rusted out circuit panel, overloaded circuits, lighting and junction boxes in need of repair.

“I thought it was a dream come true, but it took the Electrical Connection to make that happen,” said Augustine.  NECA contractor Northwest Electric Co., Inc. teamed with IBEW to make the repairs on August 4, 2017.

This is not the first time the Electrical Connection has responded to a community need. For 14 years, the IBEW/NECA partnership has supported Rebuilding Together St. Louis.   Since 2003, the partnership has donated labor and more than $825,000 in materials to improve more than 485 homes for low-income, disabled and elderly St. Louisans.  It also supports Habitat for Humanity St. Louis in building new homes.

Members of the Electrical Connection provide safe and reliable electrical construction, maintenance, repair and replacement services across Missouri, the nation and the world.  Find a contractor near you in the Electrical Connection contractor database.

Photos Above: 

Stecher-Brautigam Working – Left to right, IBEW Local 1 journey workers Kevin Stecher and Kevin Brautigam work to install a safer electrical service entrance in Debbie Augustine’s home. 

Augustine-Curran Pointing – Left to right, Debbie Augustine looks on as Jim Curran, executive vice president of the Electrical Connection, points to one of the many electrical hazards in need of repair at her home.

Kevin Stecher Mast Prep – IBEW Local 1’s Kevin Stecher works on installing a new masthead for safe electrical service to Debbie Augustine’s home.

International Design Competition for Chouteau Greenway Begins with Request for Qualifications from Design Teams

in Associations/News

Great Rivers Greenway and partners announce project goals, process and
submission deadline of Nov. 21

Great Rivers Greenway has announced it is now accepting qualification submissions from interested design teams for an international design competition. The competition is a major public-private partnership to bring a long-time vision to life for the Chouteau Greenway in the core of St. Louis City. The process, led by architect Donald J. Stastny, FAIA, who managed the design competition for the CityArchRiver project, will result in a conceptual plan that will connect Forest Park and Washington University to the Gateway Arch grounds. Interested design teams can register to download the competition manual atwww.ChouteauGreenway.org and must submit their qualifications by Nov. 21, 2017 to be considered.

“The Chouteau Greenway is envisioned to be a vibrant corridor, dense with experiential opportunities, that leverages community, institutional, and private assets in creating a unique piece of urban infrastructure,” said Stastny, Competition Manager. “As the ‘backbone’ of the central city, it will provide junctures for connections to communities, institutions, and natural resources in and around the core of St. Louis.”

Once all qualifications have been submitted by interested design teams, a jury, comprised of nine local and international experts, will utilize a series of design goals and input from the community to evaluate each design team’s submitted qualifications and recommend four teams to compete. Those four teams will be offered a stipend to work on a conceptual design, which will be reviewed by the public and presented to the jury in late April 2018. The winning team will finalize their design, completing the program, in June 2018.

The goal of the project is to connect the areas of Washington University and Forest Park to the Washington University Medical Center & BJC, the Cortex Innovation District, the City Foundry STL and Armory projects, Grand Center Arts District, Saint Louis University, Harris-Stowe State University, Midtown, Downtown and the Gateway Arch and Mississippi Riverfront. With spurs north and south, the greenway will likely stretch 5-7 miles, connecting area neighborhoods, employment centers, parks, transit and dozens of cultural and educational institutions.

The Chouteau Greenway will be part of the overall network of greenways being built by Great Rivers Greenway and partners. The competition invites designers to think beyond the trail itself to create active, vibrant spaces and destinations along the way. The goal is to have the greenway be a dynamic and unique St. Louis experience, similar to the High Line in New York City or the Atlanta Beltline.

“Imagine changing the landscape in a way that transcends traditional physical, cultural or political barriers,” said Susan Trautman, CEO of Great Rivers Greenway. “Designing Chouteau Greenway is a complex and challenging opportunity that we seek talented and innovative design teams to undertake.”

Jury members, chosen by the competition manager, who will be overseeing the design competition and reviewing the submissions include Maurice Cox, FAIA, Planning and Development Director for the City of Detroit; Antionette D. Carroll, Founder and CEO of Creative Reaction Lab in St. Louis; Gavin Kroeber, Artist and Head of the Interdisciplinary Curatorial Office for The Studio for Art & Urbanism; Deborah J. Patterson, retired VP of Global Contributions and Employee Engagement at Monsanto in St. Louis; Mark W. Johnson, FASLA, Founder of Civitas in Denver; Ed Hassinger, P.E., Chief Engineer of the Missouri Department of Transportation; Adèle Naudé Santos, FAIA, Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Allison Grace Williams, FAIA, Architect and Urban Designer at AGWms_studio; and Alternate Juror Don Roe, Executive Director of the City of St. Louis’ Planning and Urban Design Agency.

Partnering with the City of St. Louis and Great Rivers Greenway, the design competition is privately funded by Arch to Park Collaborative, Forest Park Forever, Grand Center Inc., Great Rivers Greenway Foundation, Green Street St. Louis, Lawrence Group, Saint Louis University, Washington University in St. Louis and Washington University Medical Center. Additional stakeholder groups are forming to provide input throughout the process from a wide variety of agencies, businesses and organizations.

To gather input from the community in advance of the design phase of the competition, Great Rivers Greenway is in the process of choosing 40 community members, out of the 206 who applied, to be a part of the Community Advisory Committee (CAC) to provide vision and guidance for the project. The regional public agency is also hiring local community members to serve as part of a team that will help gather input throughout the process through surveys, pop-up events and neighborhood meetings.

The first segment of the Chouteau Greenway is currently under construction as part of the TIGER grant project to build a new MetroLink station at the Cortex Innovation Community. The competition and resulting conceptual design will help partners determine a plan and schedule for designing and building additional portions of the overall greenway.

For more information about the project and to register to download the competition manual, visitwww.ChouteauGreenway.org.

Great Rivers Greenway is the public agency connecting the St. Louis region with greenways, with 113 miles built so far. St. Louisans decided to leave a legacy for future generations by investing in and connecting together some of our region’s best assets – rivers, parks and communities.

Southern Illinois Construction Advancement Program Donation To Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville

in Associations/News

The Southern Illinois Construction Advancement Program and Southern Illinois Builders Association recently donated $17,000 to the Department of Construction at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. Items that will be purchased with this donation include: concrete testing apparatus and testing certification materials; materials and methods laboratory equipment to productively use their laboratory space to provide students with hands-on experience constructing and testing building component assemblies; and support for creating a virtual learning studio which includes virtual vision and related technologies on the jobsite.

Photo Above: Left to Right: Bruce Holland, Chairman of SICAP; Donna Richter, Administrator of SICAP; and Dr. Chris Gordon, Associate Dean, School of Engineering, Associate Professor, Dept. of Construction at SIU Edwardsville

St. Louis Missouri Chapter 38 NAWIC Installation of 2017-2018 Board of Directors

in Associations/News

The St. Louis Missouri Chapter 38 of The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) held the Chapter’s fifty-seventh Installation of Officers and Directors at The Lodge at Grant’s Trail, St. Louis, MO.

The 2017-2018 St. Louis Missouri Chapter 38 NAWIC Board of Directors is comprised of:

  • President Stephanie Anderson, Acme Constructors, Inc.
  • Vice President Barbara Johnson, Chas. L. Crane Agency Co.
  • Treasurer  Kathy Cassidy, Acme Constructors, Inc.
  • Secretary Cathy Gallaher, Cateck, Inc.
  • Immediate Past President Sandra Carter, CIT, Bartch Roofing, Inc

Directors:

  • Amy  DePriest, Acme Constructors, Inc.
  • Shannon Carroll, Alberici Constructors
  • Vanessa Byrd, Shannon & Wilson, Inc.
  • Janet Heitzig, Principal Financial Group
  • Amy Heeger, AME Constructors, Inc.
  • Dottie Koch, Allied Waterproofing.

Chapter President Stephanie Anderson:  “I am excited to have been elected President of the St. Louis Chapter 38 of the National Association of Women in Construction for the 2017-2018 year. I look forward to continuing to bring the POWER of NAWIC to life for our members in this upcoming year.”

Founded in 1953, the National Association of Women in Construction is a not-for-profit organization designed to provide support, networking, education and business opportunities in the construction industry.

Construction of Gravois Greenway (Grant’s Trail) Extension to Begin Sept. 25

in Associations/News

The greenway expansion project, linking Grant’s Trail and the Rives des Peres Greenway, will start with the construction of an improved trailhead

Construction to extend the Gravois Greenway (Grant’s Trail) and connect it with the River des Peres Greenway will start Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, with the closure of the southern trailhead near Orlando’s Event and Conference Center (4300 Hoffmeister Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63125). During construction, greenway users will be unable to enter or exit the greenway at this location and will need to plan their walks, runs or bike rides accordingly.

The last 750 feet of the existing paved route will be closed for about eight months while construction of the improved trailhead is underway. The trailhead improvements include restrooms, benches, landscaping and a play structure.

To lessen the inconvenience to greenway users, Great Rivers Greenway has leased a 16-vehicle parking lot, adjacent to Grant’s Trail at Reavis Barracks Road that will serve as a temporary trailhead. No other trailheads or designated parking areas along the eight-mile Gravois Greenway will be impacted by this construction.

To commemorate the start of this long-awaited greenway expansion, Great Rivers Greenway will hold a “Last Hurrah” celebration on Saturday Sept. 23. Area residents are invited to stop by the existing trailhead at Orlando’s anytime between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. where Great Rivers Greenway staff will be on hand with coffee and information about the project. Midwest BankCentre will supply granola bars for those needing a snack after their walk or bike ride.

“People across the region have been eagerly waiting for this project to begin, and we are excited to break ground,” says Megan Riechmann, Great Rivers Greenway Project Manager. “We know that many people use the trailhead at Orlando’s, and we appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as we build this new trailhead and expanded greenway for all to enjoy.”

Construction on this first phase of the Gravois Greenway extension is expected to last into spring 2018. Phase two of the project is scheduled to begin in 2018 and will extend the existing eight-mile Gravois Greenway an additional two miles to connect with the River des Peres Greenway.

Great Rivers Greenway is a regional greenway district created by a vote of the people in St. Louis City, St. Louis County and St. Charles County. The organization improves the quality of life for all in the St. Louis region by connecting people to their rivers, parks and communities through a network of greenways.

 

OSHA, American Chemistry Council Sign Alliance to Protect Workers from Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals

in Associations/News

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the American Chemistry Council (ACC) established a two-year alliance [ https://www.osha.gov/dcsp/alliances/acc/acc.html ] recently to raise awareness of how workers are exposed to diisocyantes, and promote safe practices for their use in the polyurethane industry.

Isocyanates [ https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/isocyanates/index.html ] are raw materials used to make polyurethane products, such as insulation, car seats, foam mattresses, shoes, and adhesives. Exposure to isocyanates can cause irritation of the skin and mucous membranes, chest tightness, and difficulty breathing. More serious health effects include asthma and other lung problems.

The alliance calls for the creation of a web-based training program on the safe use of chemicals and the potential routes of exposure to users. It will also develop guidance on medical surveillance and clinical evaluation techniques for employers and workers using the chemicals. The agreement also calls for best practices seminars on health and safety procedures for OSHA, On-Site Consultation, and State Plan staff.

OSHAs new alliance with ACC will help ensure that employers and employees who work with the identified chemicals better understand the health hazards associated with these potentially hazardous chemicals, and the methods to control employee exposures, said Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt.

The ACC comprises the Center for the Polyurethanes Industry (CPI), and the Diisocyanates and Aliphatic Diisocyanates panels. Members of these groups include manufacturers and distributors of chemicals and equipment used to make polyurethane. CPI serves as the voice of the polyurethanes industry, covering more than 220,000 workers nationwide.

Through its Alliance Program [ https://www.osha.gov/dcsp/alliances/index.html ], OSHA works with unions, consulates, trade and professional organizations, faith- and community-based organizations, businesses and educational institutions to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries, and illnesses. The purpose of each alliance is to develop compliance assistance tools and resources and to educate workers and employers about their rights and responsibilities.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees.OSHAs role is to ensure these conditions for Americas working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov [ http://www.osha.gov/ ].

Decorative Concrete Council Upgrades Pearl Harbor Memorial

in Associations/News

Volunteers from the Decorative Concrete Council (DCC) and the Manufacturer’s Advisory Council (MAC), traveled to Oahu, Hawaii, August 7-11, 2017 to replace a vinyl “sticker” of a map of the Pacific War 1941-1945 with a version in concrete. The DCC and MAC are specialty councils of the American Society of Concrete Contractors (ASCC), St. Louis.

Clark Branum, Diamatic, USA, San Diego, CA was the project coordinator for the installation. The project consisted of removing the existing vinyl map and substrate, and replacing it with new, colored concrete. Stencils were then used to mask the land masses and text prior to sandblasting the surface.

Assisting DCC and MAC volunteers and staff were soldiers stationed at Pearl Harbor, part of the Concrete Preservation Institute (CPI) Field School. The CPI Field School at Pearl Harbor is a U.S. military career skills program that preserves landmark structures and monuments while training active duty military service members for transition into civilian management careers and skilled trade jobs.

The new concrete map provides a safe walking surface, more uniform coloring and clean, crisp labels. Companies supplying tools, materials and manpower were Increte Systems, McMahon Contracting, Ruttura & Sons, Superior Gunite, TAS Commercial Concrete, Lehigh Cement, Martin Concrete Construction, North S. Tarr Concrete Consulting, Bekaert, BuildSite, ChemMasters, Stego, Decorative Concrete Resources, Diamatic, Innovative Construction Concepts, and Concrete Design Solutions New England.

The DCC is the only professional organization dedicated to focusing on the issues, trends and work of the decorative concrete industry, and to meeting the needs of the contractors who pursue this specialty market.  Made up of decorative concrete contractors that install decorative concrete, manufacturers, and other interested parties, the mission of the DCC is “Advancing Decorative Concrete Contractors Through Education and Networking.”

The MAC board advises ASCC on matters relating to associate membership and suggests methods of adding value to all membership opportunities.

Sections of Route 364 and Route 94 to Be Closed Overnight Starting Sept. 11

in Associations/News

Closures Will Allow for Installation of New Pedestrian Bridges for Centennial Greenway Expansion

Motorists traveling in St. Charles County should be aware of the overnight closures of Routes 364 and Route 94 starting next week so crews can place pedestrian bridges as part of Great Rivers Greenway’s Centennial Greenway project.

On Monday, Sept. 11, crews will place the bridge segment over westbound Route 364. Drivers can expect the following:

  • At 7 p.m., crews will close the left lane of westbound Route 364 at Muegge Road to Heritage Crossing.
  • At 9 p.m., all lanes of westbound Route 364 will be closed at Arena Parkway to Heritage Crossing.
  • All westbound lanes are expected to be open by Sept. 12 at 4 a.m.

On Tuesday, Sept.12, crews will place the bridge segment over eastbound Route 364. Drivers can expect the following:

  • At 7 p.m., crews will close the left lane of eastbound Route 364 between eastbound Route 94 and Arena Parkway.
  • At 9 p.m., all lanes of eastbound Route 364 will be closed between eastbound Route 94 and Arena Parkway.
  • All eastbound lanes are expected to be open by Wednesday, Sept. 13, at 4 a.m.

On Monday, Sept. 18, crews will place the bridge segment over westbound Route 94. Drivers can expect the following:

  • At 7 p.m., crews will close the left lane of westbound Route 94, from the eastbound Route 364 Loop Ramp at Muegge Road to Heritage Crossing.
  • At 9 p.m., all lanes of westbound Route 94 will be closed from the eastbound Route 364 Loop Ramp at Muegge Road to Heritage Crossing.
  • All westbound lanes are expected to be open by Tuesday, Sept. 19, at 4 a.m.

On Tuesday, Sept. 19, crews will place the bridge segment over eastbound Route 94. Drivers can expect the following:

  • At 7 p.m., crews will close Exit 13 from eastbound Highway 364/94, preventing access to eastbound Route 94.
  • At 9 p.m., all lanes of eastbound Route 94 will be closed from Exit 13 to Portwest Drive. Drivers will not have access to eastbound Route 94 from South St. Peters Parkway as part of the closure.
  • All eastbound lanes are expected to be open by Wednesday, Sept. 20, at 4 a.m.

“All project partners are working together to minimize inconvenience to the people who live and work in this area,” said Patrick Owens, Great Rivers Greenway Project Manager. “We appreciate everyone’s patience and cooperation as we bridge these two highways so people will soon be able to safely walk or ride a bike to get where they need to go.”

All work is weather-permitting and could be shifted due to inclement weather. The bridges will be assembled on site and then separately hoisted into place over Routes 364 and 94.  Both bridges are part of the project extending the existing 2.2-mile Centennial Greenway in St. Charles County that links the Heritage Museum to the KATY Trail. When complete, the paved greenway will extend an additional mile north across both Routes 364 and 94 and connect to Old Highway 94 near Muegge Road.

Greenway construction is expected to last through the end of the year.

For more information on the Centennial Greenway project, visithttps://greatriversgreenway.org/centennial-greenway-master-plan/.

Great Rivers Greenway is a regional greenway district created by a vote of the people in St. Louis City, St. Louis County and St. Charles County. The organization improves the quality of life for all in the St. Louis region by connecting people to their rivers, parks and communities through a network of greenways. Greenways help residents and visitors explore and enjoy the region and live life outside. With 110 miles of greenways built so far, Great Rivers Greenway looks forward to connecting the entire region together in a 600-mile system. For more information, visit www.GreatRiversGreenway.org.

 

August Employment Picks Up; July Spending Slips; Too Early to Discern Impact of Harvey

in Associations/News

Nonfarm payroll employment in August rose by 156,000, seasonally adjusted, from July and by 2,089,000 (1.7%) year-over-year (y/y), the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported on Friday. (Data collection was largely completed before Hurricane Harvey hit, BLS noted.) The unemployment rate, 4.4%, matched the rate in April and June, just above the 4.3% rate in May and July. After five months of little change, construction employment increased by 28,000 on August and 214,000 (3.2%) y/y. The August total, 6,918,000, was the largest since October 2008. Employment increased for the month and 12 months in all five construction subcategories, with residential construction employment (residential building and specialty trade contractors) up a combined 0.5% for the month and 4.3% y/y, and nonresidential (building and specialty trades, plus heavy and civil engineering construction) up a
combined 0.3% and 2.5%, respectively. Average hourly earnings in construction increased 2.7% y/y to $28.96, or 9.7% higher than the average for all private-sector employees ($26.39, a rise of 2.5% y/y). The unemployment rate in construction, not seasonally adjusted, was 4.7%, the lowest August rate since the series began in 2000, and the number of unemployed jobseekers with construction experience was 448,000, the lowest August total since 2000. (Not-seasonally-adjusted employment may be affected by normal weather and holiday patterns and thus should not be compared to levels in other months.)

Construction spending totaled $1.212 trillion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate in July, 0.6% below the rate for June (which was revised up by $13 billion or 1.1%), the Census Bureau reported on Friday. The rate in July was up 1.8% y/y but was the lowest since October. Public construction slumped 1.4% for the month and 5.6% y/y. Of the three largest public segments, highway and street construction fell 4.7% y/y; educational construction slid 6.2%; and transportation (transit, passenger rail, ports and airports) declined 8.0%. Private nonresidential spending skidded 1.9% from June and 3.6% y/y, with monthly decreases for all 11 segments shown on the Census release. Of the four largest components, power (electric power plus oil and gas pipelines and field structures) fell 7.2% y/y; commercial (retail, warehouse and farm) added 7.6%; manufacturing slumped 16% and office inched down 0.1%. Private residential spending in July rose 0.8% for the month and 12% y/y. New multifamily construction ticked up 2.8% y/y; new single-family construction rose 10% and residential improvements soared 16% YTD.

It is too early to know what impact the devastation from Hurricane Harvey will have on construction materials prices and supply. There have been immediate price surges for motor fuels because of refinery shutdowns; these will affect supply all along pipelines to the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest that depend on Gulf Coast production or imports. However, refinery production is resuming day by day, and some fuel is being moved from other locations. A building-materials distributor in the Southeast reported on Thursday, “polyethylene prices skyrocketing, on allocation, and long lead times,” as plants producing resin are expected to remain closed at least until mid-week, and transport is also disrupted. Demand for plywood, wallboard and other materials used to repair, stabilize or replace damage may cause short-term price and supply disruptions, but the longer-term impacts will
depend on how much production capacity is offline and for how long. Medium-term demand for construction in the affected region may increase or decrease, depending on how many businesses close or cancel construction plans and how quickly housing and infrastructure are replaced. Most construction following natural disasters is spread out over many years. Readers are invited to send notices regarding materials prices, allocations and delivery delays to simonsonk@agc.org.

The value of new construction starts rose 6% from June to July at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, Dodge Data & Analytics reported on August 21. “Leading the way was a 26% jump by the nonbuilding construction sector, which reflected an improved level for public works and the start of two massive power plants…in California and New York. Residential building in July increased 8%, as multifamily housing rebounded after three consecutive monthly declines. Running counter was a 7% slide for nonresidential building following its 14% hike in June, as both office buildings and hotels retreated from June’s elevated activity, outweighing a sharp rise for healthcare facilities in July. During the first seven months of 2017, total construction starts on an unadjusted basis were…down 1% from the same period a year ago[, with nonresidential building up 8%, residential up 1% and nonbuilding
down 15%]. Dampening the year-to-date performance for total construction was a steep 44% decline for the electric utility/gas plant category. [If that] category is excluded, total construction starts in this year’s January-July period would be up 3% from a year ago.”

There is mixed evidence about hotel construction. The Census spending report shows private lodging construction rose 6.9% for the first seven months of 2017 compared with January-July 2016, but spending has been roughly flat since April 2016. The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, “Hotel developers are slowing down new U.S. construction projects after years of rapid growth, a result of tighter lending conditions and a ballooning supply of rooms in large markets.” However, consultancy Lodging Econometrics (LE) reported on August 28, “The total 2017 forecast for 1,021 projects/114,906 rooms, represents a 20% increase over the actual number of hotel openings in 2016…LE forecasts that 1,160 projects/133,880 rooms will open in 2018 and another 1,193 projects/137,393 rooms will open in 2019, still a distance from the annualized new openings peak of 1,316 projects/140,227 rooms,
set in 2009.”

The Data DIGest is a weekly summary of economic news; items most relevant to construction are in italics. All rights reserved. Sign up at http://store.agc.org.

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