Georgia College of Construction News

News Blog, from the President's Desk

June 13, 2013

Posted by nahetsblog on June 13, 2013

Construction employment boots figures in Us and Canada

The US Department of Labor reported Friday that a total of 178,000 new private sector jobs were added in May. That makes 39 months in a row of growth – in just over three years, the economy has now generated just shy of 7 million jobs. The unemployment rate edged up 0.1 percent to 7.6 percent as more people entered the job force.

Construction employment increased by 7,000 in May, helping to push the industry’s unemployment rate down to 10.8 percent, the lowest May level in five years, according to an analysis of new government data by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). Construction employment in May totaled 5,804,000, an increase of 189,000 or 3.4 percent over the past year. The unemployment rate for workers who last worked in construction dropped to 10.8 percent from 14.2 percent in May 2012, not seasonally adjusted, and the number of unemployed construction workers shrank over the year by 259,000 to 891,000. The latest numbers were the best May figures for each series since May 2008, Ken Simonson, the AGC’s chief economist, noted.

Following little change the previous month, employment in Canada rose by 95,000 in May, according to a report Friday from Statistics Canada, with most of the increase in full-time work. The gain in May was the largest in over a decade. This employment gain pushed the unemployment rate down 0.1 percentage points to 7.1 percent. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment grew 1.4 percent or 250,000, all in full-time work.

Following two months of little change, construction rose by 43,000 in May, accounting for nearly half the total job gains in May. With this gain, construction was up 5.8 percent or 74,000 from 12 months earlier.

Construction unemployment drops to lowest mark in five years for month of May

Construction employment increased by 7,000 jobs month-over-month in May, which helped push construction unemployment down to 10.8 percent — its lowest May level in five years, according to a release from the Associated General Contractors of America, a trade organization. A total of 189,000 jobs were added year-over-year in May, a 3.4 percent gain.

Total construction employment in May was just over 5.8 million.

“Although the monthly job gain in May was modest, both residential and nonresidential construction have been adding workers at roughly double the rate of the overall economy in the past year,” AGC chief economist Ken Simonson said in a release from the organization. But he added a caveat: “At the same time, formerly unemployed construction workers are finding jobs in other sectors, retiring or going back to school. These conditions may lead abruptly to worker shortages in parts of the industry, such as welders and pipefitters.”

Residential building added 5,500 workers month-over-month and almost 95,000 year-over-year, the report shows, while nonresidential construction added 1,700 laborers month-over-month and nearly 96,000 year-over-year. –Zachary Kussin

Construction Unemployment Drops to 10.8%

Construction employment increased by 7,000 in May, helping to push the industry’s unemployment rate down to the lowest May level in five years, according to an analysis of new government data by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials said the relatively positive jobs report for the sector underscores the need to address potential shortages of skilled workers.

“Although the monthly job gain in May was modest, both residential and nonresidential construction have been adding workers at roughly double the rate of the overall economy in the past year,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “At the same time, formerly unemployed construction workers are finding jobs in other sectors, retiring or going back to school. These conditions may lead abruptly to worker shortages in parts of the industry, such as welders and pipefitters.”

Construction employment in May totaled 5,804,000, an increase of 189,000 or 3.4% over the past year. Aggregate weekly hours of all new and existing construction employees expanded by 5.2% from a year earlier. The unemployment rate for workers who last worked in construction dropped to 10.8% from 14.2% in May 2012, not seasonally adjusted, and the number of unemployed construction workers shrank over the year by 259,000 to 891,000. The latest numbers were the best May figures for each series since May 2008, Simonson noted.

Employment expanded in both residential and nonresidential construction in May, Simonson observed. Residential building and specialty trade contractors added 5,500 workers for the month and 94,400 (4.6%) over 12 months. Nonresidential building, specialty trade and heavy and civil engineering construction firms grew by 1,700 workers in May and 95,500 (3.7%) from a year earlier. In a positive indicator for future construction growth, architectural and engineering services employers added 2.1% to their workforces over the year.

Association officials said there was still time to avoid some of the future worker shortages that will come if the industry continues to add jobs over the coming months. They urged education officials to rebuild skills-based, or vocational, educational programs designed to help prepare students for careers in construction and manufacturing. And they urged Congress and the administration to reject the arbitrary caps on construction workers that are currently included in proposed immigration legislation.

“Just as contractors found ways to cope with the downturn, we need to make sure we are able to address the challenges that will come with the sector’s eventual recovery,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s CEO. “One of the biggest challenges this industry faces is limited supply of skilled construction workers available to meet the kind of demand we all hope the industry will soon experience.”

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2.5 Million New Construction Jobs Predicted by 2016

Posted by nahetsblog on May 9, 2013

If housing starts keep up with expectations and return to normal levels in 2016, it is predicted that residential construction employment will rise to nearly 2.5 million jobs.

Fannie Mae predicts housing construction will recover to a “normal” level of about 1.6 million units in 2016. But what does this mean for homebuilding employment?

Fannie’s forecast predicts that residential construction employment will increase by 412,000 jobs between 2012 and 2016. This 20% rise in homebuilding employment will nearly triple the forecasted pace of total job growth during this time period.

However, the pace of growth will not be quick enough to bring back all homebuilding jobs lost during the housing bust. In 2016, the number of residential construction jobs is expected to remain nearly 1 million jobs below peaks established during the housing boom.

During the housing bubble, housing starts soared, totaling 2.1 million units in 2005. Between 2000 and 2006, homebuilding jobs increased by a third and reached a peak of 3.4 million.

However, the fall of homebuilding employment has been more surprising than its rise. From the years 2006 to 2011, residential construction jobs fell by 1.4 million, a 41% drop.

Although homebuilding employment is finally getting back on track, the number of jobs in the sector has only increased by 6% since it bottomed out in early 2011.

Ohio loses 10K construction jobs; Dayton stays steady

Construction employment increased in less than half of the major markets in the U.S. in March.

Compared to the year before, only 152 U.S. markets saw more jobs in the construction industry, while 126 saw fewer jobs, and 61 metros saw no change, according to the Associated General Contractors of America.

Ohio took another hit, losing 10,300 jobs compared to March 2012, but Dayton was almost stagnant, losing just 100 jobs during the period. In March, the Dayton area had 10,700 construction jobs.

The Cincinnati-Middletown metro area was one of the hardest hit in the country, losing 2,200 jobs.

“Today’s figures on employment by metro area and construction spending nationally in March highlight the uneven and fragile recovery that construction is experiencing,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “The totals are up on a year-over-year basis, and should continue to improve during the remainder of 2013, but not every sector or region will do well.”

The Missing Construction Workers

By ANNIE LOWREY

While the number of housing starts has surged – nearly doubling in the last two years – employment in residential construction has barely budged. And construction employment tracked down ever so slightly to 5.79 million workers in April, according to the preliminary data.

What gives? Where are the missing construction workers?

Those are questions that economists have been puzzling over for the last year or so, as the housing market has started to normalize, with low inventory and new demand causing prices to rise in markets across the country and builders eagerly breaking ground on new developments from Florida to California.

Over time that should lead to rising employment in the sector, especially given pent-up demand for projects. But not yet. Construction employment is starting to turn up, but from a very low level: There are about as many construction workers now as there were in 1997. And construction employment in the residential sector remains essentially flat, gaining about 2.5 percent in the last year.

There seem to be a few components to the answer. The first is that housing starts tend to tell us where the market for construction workers is going, not where it is right now. So even as starts have surged as builders have begun new projects, the overall number of units under construction remains relatively low – meaning relatively few available jobs. (See Trulia’s chief economist, Jed Kolko, on this point.)

Second, it seems that builders in some markets may be having trouble recruiting skilled workers, as my colleague Catherine Rampell recently reported. That has not yet led to much of a surge in compensation in the sector, as you might expect. But perhaps the businesses are paying workers under the table, or making do with fewer of them, in part by increasing their hours.

Moreover, builders will eventually need to hire employees to work on new projects. (As far as I know, there have not been any great productivity advances in home building in the past few years, and nobody’s outsourcing the work to robots.) That would be a good thing for an economy still desperately in need of jobs, despite the better numbers.

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$354 billion Generated by Transportation Construction Investment

Posted by nahetsblog on May 3, 2013

Transportation construction investments generate  in annual U.S. economic activity

The money invested in employment and purchases in the transportation construction industry generates $354 billion–or 2.25 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP)–annually in United States economic activity, according to an American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) report.

The report, “The U.S. Transportation Construction Industry Profile,” reveals that the annual GDP transportation construction employment and purchases is larger than that of 153 other nations, including Denmark, which generates $333 billion; Israel, which brings in $243 billion; and Venezuela, which makes $316 billion.

The report also shows that the annual value of transportation construction in the U.S. was nearly $120 billion by the end of 2012, ranking the sector larger than others in the industry such as commercial and healthcare structures, which reached $111.5 billion; motion pictures, valued at $108.3 billion in 2012; amusement parks and recreation, which reached $96.4 billion; mining, except oil and gas, at $90.9 billion; waste management, valued at $89 billion; and textile and apparel manufacturing, which reached $72.7 billion.

Also highlighted in the report is that the transportation construction industry supports 3.4 million full-time jobs in the U.S., generating more than $135 billion wages and about $11.6 billion in state and federal payroll taxes annually.

Of the jobs in the industry, 348,024 originate from or are sustained in California. New York has 307,527 of those jobs, Texas generates or sustains 303,364, Florida has 191,513, Pennsylvania makes up 166,199, Illinois creates or keeps 138,701, Ohio has 109,349, New Jersey generates or sustains 104,913, Georgia has 100,675 and Virginia makes up 93,931.

ARTBA created an interactive website to make the statistics from the report easy to view. It features a clickable U.S. map with job creation statistics, federal and state payroll tax revenue, the size of each state’s transportation network, current road and bridge conditions, commuting patterns and motor vehicle crashes.

Unemployment rate falls to pre-recession levels

EVERETT — Snohomish County’s unemployment rate in March took another steep decline, falling from 6.3 percent to 5.7 percent.

Unemployment rates have been falling since early 2010, following seasonal trends, Anneliese Vance-Sherman, regional labor economist for the Employment Security Department, reported in an employment data analysis she released Tuesday. For comparison, the unemployment rate in March 2012 was 8.3 percent. March 2013 marks the first time the unemployment rate in Snohomish County has fallen below 6 percent since September 2008 and the start of the Great Recession. The county’s unemployment rate peaked at 11.4 percent in January 2010.

Nonfarm employment in Snohomish County expanded by 100 from February to March 2013, with a March total of 262,200, Vance-Sherman reported. Employment in the private sector as a whole grew by 300 in March; the public sector shrank by 200. From March 2012 to March 2013, 5,000 jobs were added to the local economy. The private sector has been responsible for most new jobs year-over-year (5,100).

Snohomish County’s labor force stood at 387,360 in March, with 365,290 employed and 22,070 unemployed, Vance-Sherman noted. Month-to-month, Snohomish County’s labor force contracted by 2,230. The number of employed grew by 290, and the number of unemployed decreased by 2,520.

The largest share of unemployment insurance claims in the county continues to come from workers in construction-related occupations, she reported. The top five occupational groups filing initial claims in March were construction and extraction, office and administrative support, management, production, and transportation and material moving.

From February to March, initial and continued claims for unemployment insurance decreased, and the number of exhausted claims increased, Vance-Sherman reported.

Snohomish County’s goods-producers are concentrated in the manufacturing and construction sectors. From February to March, manufacturing employment lost 200 positions and construction industry employment gained 100 jobs. Year-over-year, goods-producing industries created 2,700 new jobs — a 3.5 percent growth rate.

Month-to-month growth in the construction sector was attributable to the largest construction industry: specialty trade contractors, Vance-Sherman said. Heavy and civil engineering construction and construction of buildings held their ground in March. Year-over-year, construction employment is up 400 jobs. Year-over-year gains were counted among specialty trade contractors and construction of buildings.

Workers and employers in construction have suffered losses above and beyond most industries in the Great Recession. The lowest level of employment appears to have occurred in 2011, Vance-Sherman observed. For the last several months, year-over-year comparisons of construction employment indicate employment growth.

Manufacturing payrolls shed 200 jobs in March. Industry losses over the month came from Snohomish County’s largest industry employer: the aerospace products and parts manufacturing industry, she said. On a year-over-year basis, aerospace manufacturing is responsible for the lion’s share of new hiring in manufacturing in the county. Aerospace stagnated during the recession and early recovery period, but picked up hiring momentum in early 2010.

Although in recent months, hiring has slowed, year-over-year counts indicate the addition of 2,500 direct aerospace jobs, equalling 5.7 percent growth for the industry, Vance-Sherman said.

Employment in nondurable goods manufacturing industries remained unchanged over the month, and dropped by 300 over the year.

Iowa City unemployment falls slightly

Iowa City residents saw slightly falling unemployment rates in March.

The level of unemployed Iowa City residents dropped from 2.9 percent to 2.8 percent between February and March, according to statistics released Tuesday through the Iowa Workforce Development Office. Both months were less than rates from the year before, which saw 3.3 percent unemployment in February and 3.7 percent unemployment in March.

The state’s unemployment levels also fell from 5 percent to 4.9 percent between February and March this year, compared with 5.4 percent for both months last year.

Koonce said March tends to see stronger new employment levels in construction and recreation fields on account of the warming spring weather. But she said this year’s unseasonably cold March — 8 degrees lower than average in Iowa City, according to National Weather Service readouts — prevented employers from starting to hire for projects in those fields at the same rate they would have during more temperate spring seasons.

“Typically, March is a month where construction and recreation hiring are skyrocketing because we’re getting on the way to summer months,” she said. “But March weather this month in Iowa was terrible so those hirings didn’t move forward as quickly.”

Construction employment levels statewide fell from 65,900 to 64,600 between February and March 2013.

Iowa City Public Works Director Rick Fosse said several city construction projects during March and April had been stalled by the area’s clay-heavy soil, which is slow to dry out following rain and melted snow. The cold March temperatures kept frost in the soil later in the month, which was further dampened by the rain Iowa City received April 17.

“Our construction projects for this season are off to a slow start because of the weather,” he said. “That wet, cloudy, cool weather all combined to make it difficult to get things started.”

However, Fosse said upcoming major city and University of Iowa construction projects — including the School of Music, Hancher and Art Building — should bolster the local construction field, with a city-projected value of $1.4 billion in construction over the next five years. He also pointed to smaller scale city efforts such as the city’s Gateway Project, which will replace the Park Road bridge and elevate Dubuque Street at an estimated cost of $40 million.

“Like any construction job, there will be local employment related to that not only for specific construction but also for supplying materials,” he said.

Koonce said unemployment trends are best tracked quarterly or by season to average out discrepancies in either direction such as the unexpected March weather, or brief periods of unemployment when plants close for maintenance. Although construction employment levels did see a slight decrease, she also noted overall labor forces in the state had increased — Iowa City’s rose by 400 between February and March, while the state’s rose by 5,600.

“There’s no average unemployment rate when a country is coming out of a recession,” she said. “More people in Iowa are interested in the labor force, which indicates those that might have dropped out of the labor force because they were discouraged are coming back in. That’s important all across the board.”

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Construction Jobs Rise for Tenth Month in a Row

Posted by nahetsblog on April 14, 2013

Construction industry employment climbed for the tenth consecutive month in March, as the sector added 18,000 jobs and surpassed 5.8 million employees for the first time since September 2009, according to an analysis of new government data by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials cautioned that the industry may soon experience both layoffs for some skilled trades and shortages of others, unless policy makers boost infrastructure investment and allow importation of needed workers.

“The nearly steady expansion of construction payrolls since hitting bottom in January 2011 brought the industry’s unemployment rate down to 14.7 percent last month, the lowest March rate since 2008,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Unfortunately, the decline is less a result of the 370,000 construction hires than because more than a million and a half experienced workers have left the industry since its peak by taking other jobs, retiring or leaving the workforce. That makes shortages of skilled workers increasingly likely in high-demand crafts such as pipefitting, welding and some residential activities.”

The 5.802 million construction workers employed in March constituted an increase of 162,000 or 2.9 percent from a year ago and included many, but not all, nonresidential segments as well as residential construction, Simonson noted. Residential building and specialty trade contractors added 14,800 workers in the month and 77,800 (3.8 percent) over 12 months. Nonresidential building and specialty trade contractors, along with heavy and civil engineering construction firms, boosted employment by 3,000 in March and 84,400 (2.3 percent) since March 2012.

“In contrast to the broad gains in most construction segments, employment in public works construction has been flat or falling,” Simonson pointed out. These counts, which lag the overall industry totals by one month, show a drop of 3,500 employees (1.5 percent) in highway, street and bridge construction from February 2012 to February 2013 and a pickup of only 1,000 (0.7 percent) in water and sewer system construction. At the other extreme, Simonson said, oil and gas pipeline construction employment soared by 16,300 (14.5 percent) and power and communication system construction employment jumped by 14,400 (13.0 percent).

Association officials said that these diverging employment patterns mean it is essential for the industry to be able to recruit workers from abroad if necessary to fill gaps in critical segments. It is equally important that the public sector stop underinvesting in vital highway and water infrastructure, they said.

“Construction is now adding jobs at a faster clip than the economy as a whole, but there are twin threats to both the industry and overall economic expansion,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer, “To keep the economy on track, the nation needs up-to-date infrastructure that can deliver energy, goods and people. Policy makers need to do their part by investing in public infrastructure and by allowing construction to import workers when needed.”

Reports says Pascagoula No. 1 in the country in new construction job growth

PASCAGOULA, Mississippi — Pascagoula is No. 1 in the country in the highest percentage of new construction jobs, according to a report released today by the Associated General Contractors of America.

From February 2012 to February 2013, Pascagoula added 1,800 new construction jobs, an increase of 51 percent.

Pascagoula was followed by El Centro, Calif. (23 percent, 300 jobs); Anchorage, Alaska (22 percent, 1,800 jobs), Fargo, N.D. (20 percent, 1,200 jobs) and Merced, Calif. (20 percent, 300 jobs). Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas (13,200 jobs, 8 percent) added the most jobs. Other areas adding a large number of jobs included Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas (10,700 jobs, 10 percent); Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif. (8,500 jobs, 8 percent) and Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas (7,200 jobs, 12 percent).

Construction employment increased in 158 out of 339 metropolitan areas, declined in 132 and was stagnant in 49, the report stated.

Association officials noted that the industry’s long-awaited recovery could prove fleeting if public construction spending continues to decline and a reported immigration reform deal could undermine efforts to recruit skilled workers.

“While construction employment continues to decline in many parts of the country, the number of communities experiencing gains continues to expand,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “But the twin threats of additional public sector construction cuts and a looming shortage of certain types of construction workers could hurt the industry just as it is beginning to recover.”

The largest job losses were in Northern Virginia (-3,100 jobs, -5 percent); followed by Cincinnati-Middletown, Ohio-Ky.-Ind. (-2,400 jobs, -7 percent); Raleigh-Cary, N.C. (-2,300 jobs, -8 percent); Charleston, W.V. (-2,100 jobs, -15 percent) and Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn (-2,100 jobs, -13 percent). Monroe, Mich. (-22 percent, -500 jobs) lost the highest percentage. Other areas experiencing large percentage declines in construction employment included Atlantic City-Hammonton, N.J. (-20 percent, -1,000 jobs) and Rockford, Ill. (-18 percent, -700 jobs).

Association officials noted that the rebound in construction employment in many parts of the country is taking place despite a 17 percent decline in public sector construction spending during the past four years.

They added that additional cuts, including $4 billion in construction cuts from the federal sequester, would have a significant impact, especially on firms that specialize in public sector work. They added that reports that an immigration reform proposal that includes severe limits on skilled construction workers would make it hard for recovering firms to find enough skilled workers.

“Between the dismantling of skills-based, vocational, education programs, the aging of the current workforce and years of bad economic news that have discouraged potential entrants from considering careers in construction, the pool of available skilled workers is relatively small,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer.

“This industry could go from having too little work to having too few workers. Thus, it is critical for comprehensive immigration reform to include reasonable options to recruit temporary guest workers when domestic sources are exhausted.”

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Caterpillar Continues to Hold Top Spot in KHL Ranking of Largest Construction Equipment Manufacturers

Posted by nahetsblog on April 9, 2013

Sales of construction equipment by the world’s 50 largest manufacturers grew just 2.6% last year to $186 billion – a record for the industry

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Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 Heavy Equipment Operators

Posted by nahetsblog on April 3, 2013

Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 Heavy Equipment Operators

Heavy equipment operators from capitalized on the opportunity to practice using their heavy equipment at the Haramura training area near Hiroshima during Exercise Thunder Horse, March 17-22, 2013.

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -

The Marines practiced digging 14-foot trenches and individual fighting positions in an open field near the main campsite.

“The techniques from the training weren’t just meant for practice,” said Staff Sgt. Jose Camberos, MWSS-171 heavy equipment operations chief. “It gives the Marines an understanding of how their equipment works and the ways to move dirt. When the Marines leave the schoolhouse, they don’t get the opportunity to dig anti-tank ditches and fighting positions.”

Along with combat-oriented digging, Marines earned experience assisting others digging trenches around tents with backhoes instead of using entrenchment tools.

“Digging the trenches helped me to get a better feel for the backhoe,” said Lance Cpl. Austin Blodgett, MWSS-171 heavy equipment operator. “It added valuable stick time, which is when we get behind the controls and earn time practicing.”

With extended periods of rain throughout the training, mud and clay made operations more difficult for the Marines. It escalated to the point where even vehicles with all terrain tracks were getting stuck.

“Earth-moving is very specific when it comes to the material,” said
Camberos. “If the material is too dry, it will crumble away. If it’s too wet, vehicles tend to get stuck. We had the dozer get stuck, and that rarely happens.”

Aside from moving dirt and mud, Camberos also explained what his concept of the training was truly about.

“What I mainly look for when I train them in earth moving is the Marines understanding what they’re doing and not just moving dirt,” said Camberos. “If Marines don’t know the correct process for digging a fighting position, it would become a counterproductive process.”

With the Haramura training ground providing conditions for valuable teaching periods, the Marines leave not as experts, but more experienced in their profession.

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March 26, 2013

Posted by nahetsblog on March 27, 2013

New York State Common gets OK for Caterpillar proposal

By Barry Burr

New York State Common Retirement Fund, Albany, won approval to submit a shareholder proposal on Sudan business ties at Caterpillar Inc., after the company sought unsuccessfully to exclude it.

The proposal calls for the company “to ensure that its products not be sold to the government of Sudan or entities controlled by it” and report to shareholders by December its progress in implementing that goal.

Thomas P. DiNapoli, New York state comptroller and sole trustee of the $152.9 billion New York pension fund, released a statement Thursday, saying the proposal will appear in the company’s proxy materials for its June 12 annual meeting.

Tonya K. Aldave, attorney-adviser, office of chief counsel, Division of Corporation Finance, Securities and Exchange Commission, wrote in a March 7 letter to Christopher M. Reitz, Caterpillar corporate secretary, that the company couldn’t exclude the proposal, according to SEC filings.

In a Jan. 30 letter to the SEC, Mr. Reitz asked for permission to exclude the proposal, saying, according to SEC filings, “Insofar as the company has direct control over the sale of its products to the ‘government of Sudan or entities controlled by it,’ the essential objective of the proposal has been implemented. The passive language of the proposal appears to go beyond this, however, by asking that the company ensure that its products ‘not be sold.’ To the extent that such language contemplates that Caterpillar will take additional actions to ensure that no other, unaffiliated person sells company products without the company’s permission to Sudan’s current political regime or entities controlled by it, the company simply does not and could not control for this. There are, for example, potentially millions of pieces of used Caterpillar equipment that are resold in markets over which Caterpillar has no control.”

The New York pension fund adopted in 2009 a process for divestment for companies with ties to Sudan and Iran, Eric Sumberg, spokesman, said in an e-mail. In 2009, the pension fund divested $86 million in investments from nine companies and froze from further investments seven companies doing business in Iran and Sudan over concern about human-rights abuses.

Jim Dugan, Caterpillar spokesman, confirmed the proxy statement, which the company expects to issue around April 22, will include the shareholder proposal, as well as the company’s formal response to it. Company officials don’t want to get ahead of the proxy statement response to comment now, Mr. Dugan added.

New York State Common owned 1.9 million Caterpillar shares, valued at $176.9 million, as of March 15.

With spring comes the transformed growth of imagination

Spring begins – the day was perfectly balanced with the night on March 20, the vernal equinox. For us living in Southern California, the changing of the seasons are subtle.

The chill has lifted and we get out sandals and put our Ugg boots away until next fall. The city streets and hiking trails are alive with the colors of spring flowers and the smell of fruit trees in bloom. The whales are migrating south, and the mocking birds begin their night song. I am waiting to see my first caterpillar of the season.

Caterpillars represent more than the coming of spring; they symbolize transformation and the possibility of metamorphose.

The caterpillar, a creature closest to the earth and chunky, literally transforms into a beautiful flying creature. The transformation of the caterpillar is a biological miracle with a message.

With my limited knowledge of insects, I always imagined the caterpillar in the cocoon transforming bit by bit, growing wings and butterfly antennas. But the metamorphosis of this creature is much more miraculous. Unlike mammals, the insect world transformation is almost alien or other-worldly. The caterpillar once in the cocoon starts to disintegrate into a pile of mush and decay.

While still a caterpillar, unique cells called imaginal cells show up in the caterpillar. The caterpillars’ immune system thinks they are enemies and fights them off. The imaginal cells continue to grow like crazy, multiply and eventually take over. Cells start to cluster together into groups that resonate at the same frequency, passing information from one to another. One cluster becomes the wings, another cluster becomes legs and another antennae. Research professor Lincoln Brower reports, "And so the transformation of metamorphosis goes. … Nothing like this happens in vertebrates – ever. It’s a phenomenon of insects and it truly is a miraculous biological process of transformation."

What makes the imaginal cells miraculous is that while within the caterpillar they were not caterpillar cells, nor were they butterfly cells. They "imagined" themselves. "The term imaginal cell is given to those formative, embryonic cells embedded within the caterpillar which imagine and create the butterfly," according to Deanne Bedar, author of "Imaginal Cells: A Metaphor of Transformation."

The imaginal cell inspires us to believe in transformation and to imagine.

The equinox brings vibrant colors and smells. Seeing the first caterpillar will remind me of the Einstein quote, "Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions."

What is coming? What is possible? The caterpillar’s message, what can we imagine for ourselves?

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Volvo CE 100 Million Dollar Expansion

Posted by nahetsblog on March 22, 2013

On March 21, 2013, Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) cut the ribbon on its $100 million expansion program at its Shippensburg, PA, facility. In addition to the official opening of a new headquarters building for the Americas, the event also marked the start of wheel loader production at the company’s North American base in Shippensburg.

Joining Volvo CE President Pat Olney in the inauguration ceremony were U.S. Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez, Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Alan Walker and Swedish Ambassador to the U.S. Jonas Hafström, along with 1,000 employees and many other distinguished guests.

The investment affirms the Volvo CE’s long-term confidence in the North American market and consolidates its North American operations onto one site. The opening of the new building also marks the successful relocation of the sales office from Asheville, NC, to Shippensburg, PA.

“This should serve as a very clear signal that Volvo CE is committed to this market and in a better position than ever before to offer our customers products that are made by Americans, for Americans,” said Olney. “Longer term, building machines closer to our customers will have a positive impact for U.S.-based suppliers, who will gain more business; for customers, who will enjoy shorter lead times; and for Volvo CE, which will be less exposed to currency swings.”

Ramping up local production

Wheel loader production will initially start for the L60 to L90 range of loaders. “These machines are in high demand in North America. It’s easier to start up production of smaller machines and work our way up,” says Sean Glennon, vice president of operations at the Shippensburg facility. “The investment we make in these smaller models will allow us to eventually launch into the bigger machines and meet a wider scope of customer needs.”

Localized production will also help the company become more flexible and responsive to its customers in the region.

As part of the same investment, Volvo CE will also open a world-class customer center in the area in the first quarter of 2014.

New headquarters

The new Americas headquarters serves both the North and Latin American business of Volvo Construction Equipment. Additionally, the site’s global technology center employs around 200 people and provides development expertise to the wider Volvo business.

The Shippensburg facility has been committed to producing construction equipment for nearly 40 years. Volvo CE acquired the business from Ingersoll Rand in April 2007. A $30 million, 200,000 square foot expansion was completed in June 2010 and included a new assembly hall and materials building. The office expansion, which opened in March, adds an additional 36,000 square feet and two smaller production buildings, which open in April this year, will provide a further 37,000 square feet, bringing the total size of the expanded facility to 650,000 square feet.

Today, the site employs more than 1,000 employees from nearly 20 countries, together working in operations, technology, sales & marketing, and customer support.

In addition to wheel loaders, the Shippensburg facility also makes more than 50 models of road machinery, including soil and asphalt compactors, motor graders, pavers, screeds, and milling machines. Operations include welding, large machining, paint and assembly.

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Unemployment at 7.7%

Posted by nahetsblog on March 22, 2013

REPORTED TODAY: The unemployment rate is at 7.7%, government sequester’s impact on construction.

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March 17, 2013

Posted by nahetsblog on March 18, 2013

Kidapawan eyes loan for heavy equipment

By John Unson

COTABATO CITY, Philippines — The city council of Kidapawan authorized Wednesday Mayor Rodolfo Gantuangco to apply for a P75-million loan to acquire heavy equipment, but two opposition councilors dissented, convinced there was “political agenda” in the multi-million equipment procurement plan.

The approval by the city council for Gantuangco’s office to seek loan from the Philippine Veterans Bank (PVB) came at an “inappropriate time,” according to city councilor Lauro Taynan.

The plan to avail of the equipment loan was also opposed by councilor Greg Yarra.

Yarra and Taynan’s attempt to block the loan approval was, however, outvoted by their 10 colleagues in the council, allies of Gantuangco.

Yarra and Taynan said they are not opposing the move to help the city’s engineering office to become more efficient, but are concerned with the timing of securing a bank loan within the election period.

“The discussion in the council was emotional. We argued so hard to make the other councilors understand our arguments. For me, the loan is untimely and I see a hidden agenda, especially now that the elections are fast approaching,” Taynan said.

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Most members of the council, and Gantuangco himself, are seeking re-election.

Another issue Taynan and Yarra raised was Gantuangco’s plan to procure heavy equipment from China, saying the quality of these equipment may be inferior compared to those manufactured in Europe, Japan, and the United States.

“No discrimination meant. Sorry, [but] per our experience, and based on feedback from reliable sources, road-building equipment made in China cannot be labeled as `heavy duty’ and are only good for two or three years,” Taynan said.

Taynan said the city mayor’s office also failed to explain why the loan would have to be secured from the PVB, and not from city government’s official depository, the Land Bank of the Philippines.

However, Gantuangco’s office said the transaction would be transparent.

"There is COA that would monitor the procurement, the council decides as a colegial body and that everything would be done transparently, in the strictest context of accountability, " Gantuangco’s office said.

Feeding America Receives $1 Million Investment From The Caterpillar Foundation

CHICAGO, March 13, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Feeding America, the nation’s leading hunger-relief organization, is pleased to announce a $1 million investment from the Caterpillar Foundation to support programs that provide fresh fruit and vegetables to low-income clients who do not have the access or financial means to provide these foods to their families.

The grant, which will allow for increased delivery of perishable food to rural or hard-to-reach communities that often are underserved as well as urban and suburban areas where there is an urgent need for nutritious food, will help impact Feeding America’s nationwide network of food banks, including those within the more than 15 states in which Caterpillar Inc. has operations.

Feeding America food banks provide assistance to 37 million people struggling with hunger. Last year, the charity provided more than 800 million pounds of fresh produce to low-income Americans.

"Strengthening our national retail store donation and produce innovation programs is one of the most effective and efficient ways for us to deliver food at a local level," said Bob Aiken , president and CEO of Feeding America. "Thanks to the generosity of the Caterpillar Foundation, our food banks will be able to distribute much needed food like fresh produce, low-fat dairy products and lean meat, to help feed families in need throughout the nation."

"The Caterpillar Foundation supports programs in three key areas, one of which is basic human needs," said Michele Sullivan , president of the Caterpillar Foundation. "The concept behind this organization seems so simple but has enormous impact. Feeding America has the ability to provide the equivalent of eight meals for every $1 donation. Put in those terms, this is an investment in an organization that is efficient – tackling a huge challenge for just pennies at a time."

About Feeding America
Feeding America provides low-income individuals and families with the fuel to survive and even thrive. As the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity, our network members supply food to more than 37 million Americans each year, including 14 million children and 3 million seniors. Serving the entire United States, more than 200 member food banks support 61,000 agencies that address hunger in all of its forms. For more information on how you can fight hunger in your community and across the country, visit http://www.feedingamerica.org. Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/FeedingAmerica or follow our news on Twitter at twitter.com/FeedingAmerica.

About the Caterpillar Foundation
Caterpillar Inc. supports the philanthropic efforts of the Caterpillar Foundation. Founded in 1952, the Caterpillar Foundation has contributed more than $550 million to help make sustainable progress possible around the world by providing program support in the areas of environmental sustainability, access to education and basic human needs. To learn more about the global impact of the Caterpillar Foundation, please visit www.caterpillar.com/foundation.

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