Construction Employment Continues Steady Growth - Specialty Trade Construction adds 22,600 Positions in November

December 8, 2017

Contact: Jack Jacobson
jack.jacobson@constructionemployersofamerica.com
202-637- 6820 (w); 202-251- 7644 (c)

Construction Employment Continues Steady Growth

Specialty Trade Construction adds 22,600 Positions in November

Washington, DC – The Bureau of Labor Statistics today released the country’s November employment data today, revealing continued job growth; the unemployment rate held steady at 4.1%. The American economy added 228,000 jobs, ten percent of which were added in the construction industry.

“Construction Employers of America is encouraged by today’s Bureau of Labor Statistics report, demonstrating that specialty trade construction remains the backbone of the construction employment market in America, accounting for over 64% of the jobs in the construction industry,” said Jack Jacobson, spokesperson for the Construction Employers of America. “Nearly all of November’s job growth occurred in the specialty trades, reminding us of the importance of a highly-skilled labor market.”

Construction employment was up 24,000 positions. Of that, 22,600 specialty trade positions were added, including nearly 12,000 in non-residential specialty construction and 10,700 in residential specialty construction. Heavy and civil engineering construction saw a moderate drop in employment.

“Specialty trade construction is growing for a variety of reasons,” continued Jacobson. “The specialty trades workforce requires extensive and high-quality job training and apprenticeship programs, which our members provide. In addition, our customers’ projects continue to grow in complexity and scope. Construction Employers of America and our employee partners continue to meet and exceed our customers’ high expectations.”

CEA’s seven employer associations include FCA International, International Council of Employers of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, Mechanical Contractors Association of America, National Electrical Contractors Association, Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors National Association, Signatory Wall and Ceiling Contractors Alliance, and The Association of Union Constructors. Our impact on the American economy is significant. We represent over 15,000 employers and 1.4 million employees nationwide. More information about CEA and our issues can be found online at www.constructionemployersofamerica.com.

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Specialty Construction Sees Modest Job Growth in October

Tax reform, infrastructure package vital to sustaining growth

Washington, DC – The Bureau of Labor Statistics today released the country’s October employment data, revealing sustained growth in the U.S. job market and a slight reduction  in unemployment. The construction sector added 11,000 positions in October, overwhelmingly in the specialty trade construction sector, which added 10,400 of those construction jobs.

“While this data indicates a very modest increase in specialty trade construction, nonresidential specialty construction employment is down slightly from the same time last year,” said Jack Jacobson, spokesperson for Construction Employers of America. “While this speaks somewhat to increased worker productivity, the needs for nonresidential specialty construction continues to grow, particularly for our outdated infrastructure, and we should be seeing greater job gains here, particularly as we recover from recent natural disasters that have destroyed and damaged infrastructure and buildings in multiple U.S. states and territories.”

Of the 10,400 specialty construction positions created in October, 6,100 positions were in the residential sector, while 4,300 positions were created in nonresidential specialty construction. Year-over-year, nonresidential specialty construction shrunk very modestly from 2,490,200 positions in October 2016 to 2,479,400 positions in October 2017.

“At a time when our roads and bridges need a wholesale overhaul, our municipal buildings and schools are outdated and inefficient, and our electric grid is vulnerable and in need of upgrades, we should be seeing much more growth in high-quality, blue collar specialty construction jobs,” continued Jacobson. “We are encouraged that Congress is moving forward with comprehensive tax reform, which the House of Representatives released yesterday. However, CEA urges Congress to include dedicated infrastructure spending provisions in a final tax reform measure and we will champion provisions to incentivize contractors to invest in their workforce, provide middle class jobs, enhance retirement options and protect health care benefits.”

As soon as tax reform is completed, Congress and the Administration must put a laser focus on passing a major infrastructure package with real dollars in it to rebuild outdated infrastructure and create new infrastructure that will launch a new wave of 21st century jobs and innovation.

CEA’s seven employer associations include FCA International, International Council of Employers of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, Mechanical Contractors Association of America, National Electrical Contractors Association, Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors National Association, Signatory Wall and Ceiling Contractors Alliance, and The Association of Union Constructors. Our impact on the American economy is significant. We represent over 15,000 employers and 1.4 million employees nationwide. More information about CEA and our issues can be found online at www.constructionemployersofamerica.com.

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Specialty Trades Add 8,900 Jobs in September

October 6, 2017

Specialty Construction Continues to Dominate the Construction Labor Market

Washington, DC – The Bureau of Labor Statistics today released the country’s September employment numbers, revealing modest but important growth in the construction sector. With unemployment dipping to 4.2%, specialty trade contractors added 8,900 positions, including 8,500 positions in the non-residential specialty construction market.

“Construction Employers of America is pleased to see employment growth among specialty construction firms,” said Jack Jacobson, spokesperson for Construction Employers of America. “Our investment in robust apprenticeship and training programs ensures that our firms are completing high-quality projects for our clients.”

On a year-over-year basis, specialty trades have added nearly 120,000 positions since September 2016, and currently account for over 4.4 million jobs from coast-to-coast, comprising nearly 64% of the construction labor force. In September residential construction contracted, as did heavy and civil engineering construction.

“We are pleased with this month’s jobs numbers,” continued Jacobson. “However, the loss of jobs in heavy and civil engineering construction reiterate the need for Congress and the Administration to focus on infrastructure investments and tax reform. We urge action on both bills before the end of the year; our firms will need time to plan and scale up for the work that will be generated once Congress acts.”

CEA’s seven employer associations include FCA International, International Council of Employers of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, Mechanical Contractors Association of America, National Electrical Contractors Association, Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors National Association, Signatory Wall and Ceiling Contractors Alliance, and The Association of Union Constructors. Our impact on the American economy is significant. We represent over 15,000 employers and 1.4 million employees nationwide. More information about CEA and our issues can be found online at www.constructionemployersofamerica.com.

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Construction Employment Grows in August

Federal Infrastructure Package Critical to Sustaining Increases

Washington, DC – The Bureau of Labor Statistics today released the country’s August employment numbers, revealing steady employment growth in the construction industry. Of the 156,000 jobs created in August, 28,000 positions were filled in construction employment.

“Construction employment grew across every industry sector in August,” said Jack Jacobson, spokesperson for Construction Employers of America. “This is the first month in some time we’ve realized sustained job increases throughout the construction industry. While the growth is certainly encouraging, these gains are unlikely to be sustainable without congressional intervention in the form of a major infrastructure package.”

Specialty trade construction grew by over 15,000 positions, continuing to lead employment in the construction sector. Nonresidential specialty construction grew by nearly 4,000 jobs; residential specialty construction increased by 11,500 positions.

“When Congress invests in infrastructure, it creates jobs in every single state,” continued Jacobson. “We hope the House and Senate will make the infrastructure plan they promised last year a reality. Smart tax reform can also spur construction job growth by driving down costs and bringing back home significant overseas corporate earnings to be invested in American infrastructure.”

CEA’s seven employer associations include FCA International, International Council of Employers of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, Mechanical Contractors Association of America, National Electrical Contractors Association, Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors National Association, Signatory Wall and Ceiling Contractors Alliance, and The Association of Union Constructors. Our impact on the American economy is significant. We represent over 15,000 employers and 1.4 million employees nationwide. More information about CEA and our issues can be found online at www.constructionemployersofamerica.com.

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Strong Job Gains Belie Construction Employment Weaknesses

Federal Action on Tax, Infrastructure Legislation Imperative

Washington, DC – The Bureau of Labor Statistics today released July’s employment statistics. While the economy continued to expand, construction job growth was weaker than expected, contracting in some cases. Specialty trade construction continued to dominate the construction industry, but added only 1,200 jobs.

“To see construction job gains this small during the summer is alarming,” said Jack Jacobson, spokesperson for Construction Employers of America. “Nonresidential specialty construction shrunk by nearly 1,000 positions in July. We would expect the opposite if the economy was truly strong and working for everyone.”

CEA has been vocal about the need for Congress to quickly pass robust legislation to overhaul the U.S. tax code and invest in domestic infrastructure projects. Effective tax reform would immediately spur domestic infrastructure investments through repatriation of overseas earnings and pro-growth tax policies to aid small businesses. Stronger enforcement tools to address worker misclassification would have the dual impact of raising federal tax receipts and ensuring blue collar workers receive the unemployment, healthcare, and retirement benefits they’ve earned.

“Congress cannot continue to kick the can down the road,” said Jacobson. “Legislative inaction will cripple our economy. Construction contractors are ready to work on projects to rebuild our airports, roads, and crumbling infrastructure. Congressional inaction is endangering tens of thousands of construction jobs.”

CEA’s seven employer associations include FCA International, International Council of Employers of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, Mechanical Contractors Association of America, National Electrical Contractors Association, Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors National Association, Signatory Wall and Ceiling Contractors Alliance, and The Association of Union Constructors. Our impact on the American economy is significant. We represent over 15,000 employers and 1.4 million employees nationwide. More information about CEA and our issues can be found online at www.constructionemployersofamerica.com.

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June Employment Data Reveals Construction Jobs Growth

Specialty Construction Rebounds Slightly from Stagnant Spring

Washington, DC – Today the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the country’s June employment numbers. The economy added 222,000 jobs, 18,500 of which were in the specialty construction sector. Unemployment held relatively steady at 4.4%.

“Construction Employers of America is cautiously optimistic at the elevated employment numbers in the specialty construction industry,” said Jack Jacobson, spokesperson for CEA. “June is peak construction season. We would have hoped for much better numbers at this time of the year.”

Specialty construction continues to dominate employment in the construction industry. In June, the economy added 7,500 residential specialty construction jobs and 11,000 non-residential specialty construction positions; building construction contracted by nearly 5,000 positions.

CEA and its member organizations continue to offer robust apprenticeship and training programs to ensure a strong pipeline of applicants for positions created when construction employment grows. CEA employer members jointly sponsor apprenticeship and training programs that meet and exceed state and federal standards, teaching essential skills to apprentices and delivering top-level performance for industry employers and their clients. Increasingly, CEA employer-sponsored apprenticeship programs are accredited for college credit due to the increasing sophistication of skilled building trades work and technology.

“CEA once again urges Congress and the Trump Administration to move forward now with smart tax reform legislation and significant federal infrastructure investment before the opportunity to sustain our economic growth evaporates,” continued Jacobson. “We well understand the need for tax reform and infrastructure investment. It’s long past time to stop talking and start legislating.”

CEA’s seven employer associations include FCA International, International Council of Employers of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, Mechanical Contractors Association of America, National Electrical Contractors Association, Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors National Association, Signatory Wall and Ceiling Contractors Alliance, and The Association of Union Constructors. Our impact on the American economy is significant. We represent over 15,000 employers and 1.4 million employees nationwide. More information about CEA and our issues can be found online at www.constructionemployersofamerica.com.

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Weak Job Growth Affirms Urgent Need for Infrastructure Investment

Specialty trade construction shrunk in May


Washington, DC – The Bureau of Labor Statistics today released the country’s employment data from May, which included jarring numbers for the specialty construction industry. Specialty trade construction contracted by 1,200 jobs, led by an unexpected reduction of 6,300 jobs in the nonresidential specialty construction industry.

“May is typically the start of the busy season for specialty construction,” said Jack Jacobson, spokesperson for the Construction Employers of America. “To see an overall loss of jobs in specialty construction when the industry should be running at full steam is incredibly concerning and is a clarion call for Congress and the President to act immediately to pass a robust large-scale infrastructure bill to put Americans back to work.”

In addition to the trillion dollar infrastructure bill, federal policymakers are also writing tax reform legislation that could boost the construction industry, if implemented correctly. CEA has urged Congress to include provisions to repatriate overseas earnings that would boost investment in domestic infrastructure and related construction projects. CEA is also advocating the legislation boost IRS enforcement tools to combat worker misclassification and provide businesses incentives for investing in new construction projects and repair of existing assets.

“The country cannot afford any further delays on infrastructure or tax reform legislation,” continued Jacobson. “While our elected officials dither, hardworking Americans are sitting on the sidelines, waiting for real action that will create jobs and spur economic growth.”

CEA’s seven employer associations include FCA International, International Council of Employers of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, Mechanical Contractors Association of America, National Electrical Contractors Association, Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors National Association, Signatory Wall and Ceiling Contractors Alliance, and The Association of Union Constructors. Our impact on the American economy is significant. We represent over 15,000 employers and 1.4 million employees nationwide. More information about CEA and our issues can be found online at www.constructionemployersofamerica.com.

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Construction Employers Commemorate Infrastructure Week

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 17, 2017

Contacts:         Jack Jacobson, CEA; 202-637- 6820 (w); 202-251- 7644 (c)
                         John Stapleton, Rep. McKinley; 202-225-4172 (w)
                         Ally Kehoe, Rep. Norcross; 202-380-5849 (c)

Washington, DC – The Construction Employers of America today joined with the Co-Chairs of the Congressional Building Trades Caucus to commemorate Infrastructure Week 2017, a nationwide effort to educate policy leaders and advocate for immediate investment in all forms of domestic infrastructure. The Administration and Congress have committed to enacting a major infrastructure bill this Congress, and CEA is engaged with policymakers to ensure the needs of specialty trade contractors are addressed.

“As an engineer, I understand how America’s construction workers helped build this great country,” said Congressman David B. McKinley, P.E. (R-WV-01), Co-Chair of the Congressional Building Trades Caucus. “From infrastructure investments to corporate tax reform to streamlining regulations, there are a host of options for federal policymakers to boost job growth, drive economic prosperity, and allow America to reclaim the mantle of infrastructure leadership on the world stage.”

“Working as an electrician, I learned the value of hard work while hanging hundreds of feet above the Delaware River lighting the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. I know we need to update our aging infrastructure and that, when we invest properly, we will add high-skilled, high-wage jobs,” said Congressman Donald Norcross (D-NJ-01), Co-Chair of the Congressional Building Trades Caucus. “It’s great to stand alongside construction contractors and join them in supporting worker training and apprenticeship programs and protections, like Davis Bacon. We desperately need to invest in our roads, bridges, rails, ports, airports, Electric Grid, pipes and more; simply put: it’s time to build.”

According to a study by Professor Stephen Fuller at George Mason University, an additional $1 billion invested in nonresidential construction would add $3.4 billion to our gross domestic product, $1.1 billion to personal earnings, and create or sustain 28,500 jobs. The Administration’s stated commitment to securing $1 trillion in infrastructure investment would invigorate our economy and produce long-term job growth across the country.

CEA members are advocating key provisions be included in federal infrastructure legislation, including retaining voluntary use of Project Labor Agreements, maintaining and strengthening regional prevailing wage (Davis-Bacon) requirements, and worker misclassification enforcement.

CEA’s seven employer associations include FCA International, International Council of Employers of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, Mechanical Contractors Association of America, National Electrical Contractors Association, Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors National Association, Signatory Wall and Ceiling Contractors Alliance, and The Association of Union Constructors. Our impact on the American economy is significant. We represent over 15,000 employers and 1.4 million employees nationwide. More information about CEA and our issues can be found online at www.constructionemployersofamerica.com.

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Construction Firms Add 5,000 Jobs in April

Unemployment Down to 4.4%; Specialty Trade Jobs Dip Slightly

Washington, DC – The Bureau of Labor Statistics today released its April jobs report, revealing that employment in the construction industry increased by 5,000 jobs (seasonally adjusted). While the economy added 211,000 jobs, total specialty trade employment contracted nominally, shedding 1,500 positions in April.

“While the country’s employment report is promising, the Construction Employers of America is concerned that specialty trade construction employment may be stagnating,” said Jack Jacobson, spokesperson for CEA. “Immediate action by Congress and the Administration on tax reform, repatriation of foreign corporate assets to domestic investment pools, and a public construction infrastructure package will shore up employment in the specialty construction sector and keep employment growing across the country.”

The BLS report did have a bright spot for the specialty construction industry as total residential and nonresidential specialty construction employment is up by 127,000 positions over the same point in 2016. April’s loss of 5,100 nonresidential specialty construction jobs serves as a warning and should spur policymakers to take immediate action.

“Our construction firms stand ready to rebuild America,” continued Jacobson. “CEA members continue to invest in workforce development, training, and robust apprenticeship programs to prepare the next generation of blue collar workers to build critical infrastructure. Federal action today will drive further job growth and employ more Americans that will strengthen the middle class for years to come.”

CEA’s seven employer associations include FCA International, International Council of Employers of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, Mechanical Contractors Association of America, National Electrical Contractors Association, Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors National Association, Signatory Wall and Ceiling Contractors Alliance, and The Association of Union Constructors. Our impact on the American economy is significant. We represent over 15,000 employers and 1.4 million employees nationwide. More information about CEA and our issues can be found online at www.constructionemployersofamerica.com.

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Construction Employers Kick Off National Issues Conference

Infrastructure Investment, Composite Plans among Federal Policy Priorities

Washington, DC – Today the Construction Employers of America launched its first National Issues Conference, bringing CEA members from around the country to Washington to engage with policymakers on a host of federal issues. The three-day event includes briefings from federal policy experts, conversations with elected officials, and meetings between CEA members and congressional offices to educate lawmakers on issues impacting signatory specialty construction firms and their employees.

“The Construction Employers of America continues to grow in membership and influence,” said Jack Jacobson, spokesperson for CEA. “Given the recent changes in Washington and active legislation that could include rewriting the tax code and the largest infrastructure investment in a generation, our members are eager to come to Washington and engage with federal elected officials and Trump Administration staff.”

CEA is seeking congressional action to authorize voluntary multiemployer composite retirement plans that will reduce risk for contributing employers but still provide safe and comfortable lifetime retirement benefits for employees. CEA members will also support swift action on national infrastructure investment legislation that will fund vital projects and could streamline the permitting process. Another priority for CEA members is protecting local workers and local economies by ensuring federal projects comply with Davis-Bacon regional prevailing wage rules.

“CEA’s agenda in Washington is simple: support policies that promote responsible contracting and employment practices,” continued Jacobson. “The legislative and regulatory policies sought by CEA and our member companies will grow the national economy and create quality middle-class blue collar jobs from South Carolina to Seattle.”

CEA’s other federal policy priorities include addressing worker misclassification through IRS enforcement, allowing the use of project labor agreements when beneficial to both the taxpayer and the specialty construction firm, and supporting new energy investments. The National Issues Conference is supported by CEA members FCA International, Mechanical Contractors Association of America, Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors National Association, and The Association of Union Constructors.

CEA’s seven employer associations include FCA International, International Council of Employers of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, Mechanical Contractors Association of America, National Electrical Contractors Association, Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors National Association, Signatory Wall and Ceiling Contractors Alliance, and The Association of Union Constructors. Our impact on the American economy is significant. We represent over 15,000 employers and 1.4 million employees nationwide. More information about CEA and our issues can be found online at www.constructionemployersofamerica.com.

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Nonresidential Specialty Trade Contractors Drove March Growth

Specialty Trade Contractors Continue to Dominate Construction Employment

Washington, DC – The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics today released its March employment data, which revealed a slowing of job growth from previous months. A clear bright spot in the report was the 7,300 new jobs in nonresidential specialty trade construction.

“While we were pleased to see another continued month of job growth, the slowing rate of growth is concerning and emphasises the need for immediate investments in infrastructure,” said Jack Jacobson, spokesperson for the Construction Employers of America. “The increase in jobs in the nonresidential specialty trade sector led growth in the construction industry overall, where specialty contractors comprise the overwhelming majority of employment.”

Specialty trade contractors saw a very slight increase of 700 jobs (seasonally adjusted). The gains in nonresidential specialty construction were offset by 6,600 job losses in the residential specialty construction sector. Overall, construction employment grew by 6,000 jobs in March.

“After much larger gains in February of 59,000 construction jobs, the March growth rate is disappointing. It should be a wakeup call to lawmakers that a robust infrastructure initiative is needed now to rebuild our nation and propel our economic recovery,” said Jacobson. “What is clear is that the specialty trades are the dominate force in the construction jobs market, and we’ve led construction job growth, adding 135,000 employees to our payrolls over the past year.”

CEA’s seven employer associations include FCA International, International Council of Employers of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, Mechanical Contractors Association of America, National Electrical Contractors Association, Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors National Association, Signatory Wall and Ceiling Contractors Alliance, and The Association of Union Constructors. Our impact on the American economy is significant. We represent over 15,000 employers and 1.4 million employees nationwide. More information about CEA and our issues can be found online at www.constructionemployersofamerica.com.

 

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Specialty Trades Drive February Construction Job Growth

36,400 New Jobs in Specialty Construction in February

 

March 10, 2017

Contact:  Jack Jacobson
                jack.jacobson@constructionemployersofamerica.com    
                202-637- 6820 (w); 202-251- 7644 (c)

Washington, DC – The Bureau of Labor Statistics today released its February jobs report, marking another month of growth in construction employment. Of the 235,000 jobs created in February, 25% were in the construction industry. The specialty construction trades drove the increase in construction employment, accounting for over 62% of the job growth in the construction industry.

“The specialty construction sector continues to demonstrate the vital role it plays in America’s economic resurgence and is once again leading employment gains in the construction industry,” said Jack Jacobson, spokesperson for the Construction Employers of America. “The skilled, blue collar jobs created in the specialty construction industry are exactly what’s needed to spur sustained economic growth across the country.”

Over the past twelve months, construction employment overall has grown by 3.3%, putting 219,000 construction employees to work. Construction employment nationally now accounts for 6.88 million jobs, 4.4 million of which are in specialty trade construction. Specialty trade contractors have added 165,600 jobs in the past twelve months (seasonally adjusted), a healthy growth rate given the low level of unemployment nationally.

CEA’s seven employer associations include FCA International, International Council of Employers of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, Mechanical Contractors Association of America, National Electrical Contractors Association, Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors National Association, Signatory Wall and Ceiling Contractors Alliance, and The Association of Union Constructors. Our impact on the American economy is significant. We represent over 15,000 employers and 1.4 million employees nationwide. More information about CEA and our issues can be found online at www.constructionemployersofamerica.com.

 

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Specialty Construction Employment Grew in January Construction Industry Overall Saw Measured Gains

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 3, 2017

Contact:  Jack Jacobson
                jack.jacobson@constructionemployersofamerica.com    
                202-637- 6820 (w); 202-251- 7644 (c)

Washington, DC – The Bureau of Labor Statistics today released January’s national employment data, which revealed strong employment numbers in the construction and particularly the specialty construction industries. The national unemployment rate remains low, at 4.8%. Construction employment continued to grow, posting an increase of 36,000 jobs in January, while specialty trade contractor jobs rose by 11,000.

“The Construction Employers of America is encouraged by the strong job gains among the specialty construction trades,” said Jack Jacobson, spokesperson for CEA. “Specialty union contractors are investing in domestic workforce training and apprenticeship programs to ensure our industry is prepared when employment growth occurs in specialty construction.”

Over the last 12 months, the construction industry added 170,000 jobs, a significant increase after a prolonged slump following the 2008 recession. The more unionized, highly skilled specialty trade contractors continued to dominate construction employment, representing nearly 64% of the construction industry totaling some 4.3 million jobs. Employment among specialty trade contractors was up 3% over January 2016.

“The job growth in January, coupled with a major national infrastructure investment plan under consideration by Congress and the Trump Administration, make us optimistic that additional growth will occur in the specialty trade construction industry over the coming years,” continued Jacobson. “We urge Congress and the Administration seize the bipartisan opportunity across the country to invest in infrastructure and rebuild America.”

CEA’s seven employer associations include FCA International, International Council of Employers of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, Mechanical Contractors Association of America, National Electrical Contractors Association, Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors National Association, Signatory Wall and Ceiling Contractors Alliance, and The Association of Union Constructors. Our impact on the American economy is significant. We represent over 15,000 employers and 1.4 million employees nationwide. More information can be found at www.constructionemployersofamerica.com.

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“TIRE” Act Falls Flat; Threatens American Workers

Washington, DC – The Construction Employers of America and the 15,000 employers CEA represents today condemned the introduction of Sen. Jeff Flake’s (R-AZ) “Transportation Investment Recalibration to Equality (TIRE) Act”, which would eliminate important prevailing wage protections for federal highway construction contracts. For over 80 years, Davis-Bacon prevailing wage requirements have ensured that companies pay fair wages and labor receives fair compensation for work based on local prevailing wages.

“The evidence is unequivocal,” said Jack Jacobson, spokesperson for CEA. “Scores of peer-reviewed studies confirm that overall project costs are not affected by prevailing wage requirements. The American people have made it clear that they expect Congress and the Administration to create more fair-wage, blue collar jobs. This ‘Flat’ TIRE Act will depress wages and eliminate economic opportunity for tens of thousands of hard-working Americans.”

Without Davis-Bacon protections, the country’s transportation construction workers will be more prone to poverty, require public assistance to make ends meet, and will not have access to critical health insurance and retirement benefits, straining Federal entitlement programs such as Medicaid and Social Security. At the same time, the Federal government will not save any money on construction costs.

Prevailing wage safeguards have proven sound construction procurement policy, ensuring project success by respecting and adhering to prevailing workforce standards and wages. Davis-Bacon discourages artificially low bids that undercut high workforce standards. Artificially low bids frequently lead to claims, disputes, and project delays. Established industry and project owner practices in both the private and public sectors recognize that high workforce standards delivery superior project outcomes. Prevailing wage standards also promote using local labor forces for public works projects.

“This is another classic ‘bait and switch’ that prioritizes private company profits over America’s hard-working citizens,” said Jacobson. “Let’s not forget that Davis-Bacon was originally introduced by Republican Senator James Davis and Republican Representative Robert Bacon, and was signed into law by Republican President Herbert Hoover.”

CEA’s specialty construction contractors invest in apprenticeship and training programs, which build a quality workforce that produces high quality work. The Federal government should not undermine local workforce standards, particularly for highways, which are a critical component of America’s infrastructure.

CEA’s six employer associations include the International Council of Employers of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, Mechanical Contractors Association of America, National Electrical Contractors Association, Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors National Association, Signatory Wall and Ceiling Contractors Alliance, and The Association of Union Constructors. Our impact on the American economy is significant. We represent over 15,000 employers and 1.4 million employees nationwide. More information about CEA and our issues can be found at www.constructionemployersofamerica.com.

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Construction Employers Reach Out to Transition Teams Detail labor, infrastructure, and investment policies to move America forwar

Washington, DC – Construction Employers of America today provided the transition teams for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump detailed policy recommendations that will support American small businesses and strengthen and expand our middle class by creating high-paying jobs in the specialty construction industry.  The letters to the Trump and Clinton transition teams outline infrastructure investments, labor policies, and apprenticeship programs that the next presidential administration must address through legislation or executive action.

“The union specialty construction industry is eager to engage with the next presidential administration on a host of common sense policies that will support American innovation and expand family-owned businesses,” said Jack Jacobson, spokesperson for Construction Employers of America. “Highly skilled union building trade shops strengthen the middle class and are good for the country. Our member companies follow the rules and provide superior wages and benefits--including health insurance, pensions, and worker safety investments--to their employees.”

CEA and its member associations look forward to working with the next administration to implement sound policies that encourage job growth. From investing in infrastructure to training the next generation of high-quality construction workers, CEA has provided policy recommendations for the next administration that will support the specialty construction industry and grow our economy:

  • Promote Sound Infrastructure Policies and invest in our nation’s aging infrastructure
  • Modernize Retirement Plan Options through federal authorization of composite plans
  • Prepare the Next Generation of Skilled Workers by supporting apprenticeship training programs
  • Invest in Energy Efficient Buildings and set and enforce strong and attainable building codes
  • Enhance Manufacturing Efficiency and support policies that advance the deployment of combined heat and power and waste heat to power technologies
  • Support Responsible Employers Through Bid Listing and require prime contractor project winners to use the listed subcontractor at the price listed
  • Close Employee Misclassification Loophole through reform of existing tax law to identify bad actors so the government can recoup lost tax revenue

CEA’s seven employer associations include the International Council of Employers of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, Finishing Contractors Association International, Mechanical Contractors Association of America, National Electrical Contractors Association, Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors National Association, the Signatory Wall and Ceiling Contractors Alliance, and The Association of Union Contractors. Our impact on the American economy is significant. We represent over 15,000 employers and 1.4 million employees nationwide. CEA’s letters to the transition teams can be found online at www.constructionemployersofamerica.com.

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Construction Employers Seek Plank in Party Platforms Letters to DNC, RNC Outline Key Construction Industry Policy Issues

Washington, DC; June 21, 2016 – The Construction Employers of America asked the Chairs of the Democratic National Convention’s Platform Committee and Republican National Convention’s Platform Committee to include in their parties’ official platforms strong policies that honor the vital role that highly skilled union building trade shops play in creating and maintaining the country’s infrastructure, supporting small business, and strengthening the middle class. 

“Both Convention Platform Committees should include policies that will ensure that the country continues to support and nurture a vibrant, high-quality domestic construction industry,” said Jack Jacobson, spokesperson for the Construction Employers of America. “Highly skilled union building trade shops strengthen the middle class and are good for the country. Our member companies are family-owned businesses that follow the rules and provide superior wages and benefits--including health insurance, pensions, and worker safety investments--to their employees.”

CEA and its member associations look forward to working with the Platform Committees to promote national policies that move America forward. From investing in infrastructure to training the next generation of high-quality construction workers, there are several important policies that CEA urges the Platform Committees to incorporate into their official Convention Platforms:

  • Promote Sound Infrastructure Policies and invest in our nation’s aging infrastructure
  • Modernize Retirement Plan Options through federal authorization of composite plans
  • Prepare the Next Generation of Skilled Workers by supporting apprenticeship training programs
  • Invest in Energy Efficient Buildings and set and enforce strong and attainable building codes
  • Enhance Manufacturing Efficiency and support policies that advance the deployment of combined heat and power and waste heat to power technologies
  • Support Responsible Employers Through Bid Listing and require prime contractor project winners to use the listed subcontractor at the price listed
  • Close Employee Misclassification Loophole through reform of existing tax law to identify bad actors so the government can recoup lost tax revenue

“When our next President takes office, swift action on these key policy initiatives will strengthen our economy and create good paying jobs here at home,” said Jacobson. “We look forward to working with both presidential nominees and the parties’ Platform Committees to advance common sense policies that reflect the importance of a strong union building trade construction industry.”

CEA’s five employer associations include the International Council of Employers of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, Mechanical Contractors Association of America, National Electrical Contractors Association, Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors National Association, and The Association of Union Contractors. Our impact on the American economy is significant. We represent over 15,000 employers and 1.4 million employees nationwide. CEA’s letters to the Platform Committees can be found online at www.constructionemployersofamerica.com.

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CEA Issues Statement on Central States Decision Seeks Immediate Congressional Action on Composite Plans

The Construction Employers of America issued the following statement in response to the Treasury Department’s decision to deny the Central States, Southeast and Southwest Areas, Health and Welfare Pension Fund Trustees’ difficult decision to voluntarily request a modification of its pension plan to continue to provide some level of benefit to pension recipients and assure the Fund’s solvency:

The Construction Employers of America is deeply concerned by the Treasury Department’s decision to reject the hard choice the Central States joint labor and management trustees made that would have ensured long-term solvency of the Central States Pension Fund. Mr. Feinberg’s decision creates greater uncertainty for the Trustees, an even more precarious situation for pension recipients, and a very real possibility that deeper cuts will be necessary.

When Congress passed and the President signed the “Multiemployer Pension Reform Act” in 2014, multiemployer pension plan joint labor and management trustees were empowered with the authority to make necessary changes to pension benefits when plans faced insolvency. Plan trustees are best situated to make informed, responsible decisions on behalf of struggling plans to ensure plans’ continued viability.

It is no secret that many of America’s defined benefit plans are floundering, with some facing real and immediate crises. Weak pension plans may create vulnerabilities that weaken the entire pension system. Today’s decision is a wakeup call to Congress, multiemployer benefit plan administrators, and beneficiaries. Given the current status of some plans, current defined benefit plans are too risky for employers and defined contribution plans do not, in reality, provide sufficient guarantees for employees.

The Construction Employers of America reiterates its call for Congress to finish the work it started when it passed the “Multiemployer Pension Reform Act” by authorizing hybrid ‘composite plans’. Composite plans would provide a voluntary option for joint labor and management plan trustees to adopt that would afford a lifetime benefit that would be far superior to a 401(k) for employees while reducing risks for employers. Composite plans were developed jointly by labor and management to meet the evolving needs of today’s workforce, and would allow labor and management trustees to make joint decisions to address market disruptions earlier without the need for draconian measures and slashes in pension benefits to ensure long-term plan solvency.

Construction Employers of America is a joint initiative to coordinate action on labor, workforce, and construction issues facing our industries. CEA will work to strengthen the construction industry and provide opportunities for top-quality construction workers to learn and maintain the skills they need to deliver highly productive, quality workmanship that provides the best value to project owners while earning high-value compensation and benefits for themselves, their families, and their communities. Information about the CEA can be found online at www.constructionemployersofamerica.com.

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CEA Meets with Congressional Building Trades Caucus Discusses Infrastructure, Composite Plans, Apprenticeships, Bid Listing

Washington, DC; April 7, 2016 – This week, members of the Construction Employers of America met with leadership of the recently-established Congressional Building Trades Caucus. CEA representatives discussed federal policy initiatives important to the specialty construction industry with representatives of the Caucus, which is Co-Chaired by Rep. David McKinley (R-WV-01) and Rep. Donald Norcross (D-NJ-01).

The Congressional Building Trades Caucus was launched last month to advance federal policies that support the 6.6 million Americans working in the construction industry. The CEA was pleased to have the opportunity provide early input to the Caucus as it develops its agenda.

CEA discussed with Caucus representatives that highly skilled union building trade shops strengthen the middle class and are good for the country. Most CEA member companies are family owned small businesses that follow the rules and provide superior wages and benefits--including health insurance, pensions, and worker safety investments--for their employees. Issues that CEA raised with the Congressional Building Trades Caucus include the following:

  • Promote Sound Infrastructure Policies - Adequate federal dollars to maintain infrastructure is vital to the country, the economy, and the construction industry. Public policy should continue to allow federal agencies to utilize project labor agreements (PLAs) in projects where they determine a PLA would provide the best value and highest quality for federal and federally assisted projects. CEA also supports effective enforcement of prevailing wage and other current laws.
  • Modernize Retirement Plan Options - The multiemployer pension system needs to be modernized through congressional authorization of composite plans, which would provide employees lifetime annuity benefits while ensuring predictability for employer contributions.
  • Prepare the Next Generation of Skilled Workers - Skilled labor is vital to the success of our industry, and we invest heavily in apprenticeship training programs. Our employers and their labor partners operate over 1,100 apprenticeship training centers nationally and invest over $1.3 billion annually in workforce training and apprenticeship programs.
  • Require Bid Listing - Congress should prohibit the practice of post-award bid shopping on low-bid federal construction projects in order to restore equitable safeguards for subcontractors who submit their bids to prime contractors in good faith. Procurement policy should require prime contractors on low-bid solicitations over $1 million to list all subcontractors with work over $100,000 and require prime contractor project winners to use the listed subcontractor at the price listed.
  • Oppose Employee Misclassification - Misclassification occurs when an employer improperly classifies and employee as an independent contractor to gain a competitive advantage at the expense of responsible, lawful companies and depriving employees of benefits they deserve. Congress should reform existing tax law to identify bad actors so the federal government can recoup lost tax revenue and ensure all businesses compete under the same rules.

 Construction Employers of America is a joint initiative coordinating action on labor, workforce, and construction issues facing our industries. CEA works to strengthen the construction industry and provide opportunities for top-quality construction workers to learn and maintain the skills they need to deliver highly productive, quality workmanship that provides the best value to project owners while earning high-value compensation and benefits for themselves, their families, and their communities. Information about the CEA can be found online at www.constructionemployersofamerica.com.
 

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Construction Employers of America Urges Authorization of Composite Plans - Composite Plans would Modernize Multiemployer Retirement Benefits

Washington, DC – The Senate Committee on Finance held a hearing today exploring recent reforms and challenges for the multiemployer pension plan system. The Construction Employers of America urged the Committee to provide employers and employees participating in collectively bargained multiemployer plans an additional choice in retirement plan models by authorizing composite plans.

“Authorization of composite plans is the single most important step Congress can take to modernize multiemployer retirement benefits that can meet the evolving needs of both employees and employers in our ever-changing economic environment,” said Jack Jacobson, spokesperson for CEA. “Composite plans were jointly developed by labor and management, have been thoroughly researched, and have undergone extensive stress testing. We urge Congress to authorize composite plans as soon as possible.”

Composite plans combine the best attributes of traditional defined benefit plans that provide lifetime income for retired workers, and 401(k) defined contribution plans, that provide cost predictability and reduced risk for employers. Congress must authorize composite plans before employers and employees can begin using them. Labor and management would voluntarily agree to adopt composite retirement plans. Once Congress authorizes composite plans, the companies that sponsor multiemployer plans will be able to offer safe and secure lifetime benefits to their employees without risking the survival of their businesses.

Last year the House Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing to examine reforms that would modernize the multiemployer pension system during which composite plans were thoroughly reviewed. Witnesses and stakeholders agreed that composite plans could provide annuitized income for employees while ensuring greater certainty for employers that defined benefit plans lack.

Construction Employers of America is a joint initiative to coordinate action on labor, workforce, and construction issues facing our industries. CEA will work to strengthen the construction industry and provide opportunities for top-quality construction workers to learn and maintain the skills they need to deliver highly productive, quality workmanship that provides the best value to project owners while earning high-value compensation and benefits for themselves, their families, and their communities.

FY17 Budget Supports Accountability, Training; Fails to Capitalize on Construction Opportunities

Washington, DC; February 9, 2016 – The Construction Employers of America today reviewed President Obama’s fiscal year 2017 budget proposal, which would fund important jobs, employment accountability, and workforce training initiatives. CEA members will work with Congress and the Administration to ensure construction projects are fully funded and that policies are implemented that support the country’s specialty construction employers and highly-skilled construction labor force.

The President’s budget includes significant reductions in capital construction for federal buildings and infrastructure projects compared to fiscal year 2016. The 2016 omnibus appropriations bill provided much-needed investments in the country’s aging transportation, energy, and water infrastructure projects and federal buildings. “Now is not the time to backslide on those investments,” said Jack Jacobson, spokesperson for the Construction Employers of America.

CEA is concerned that the President’s 2017 budget is a missed opportunity to build on the construction and infrastructure investments made last year. The construction industry is finally rebounding to pre-recession levels, and now is not the time to stymie the advances that have been made for the economy, construction employees, and the construction industry as a whole.

The President’s budget includes funds to investigate illegal classification of employees as independent contractors, including $10 million “for activities to address the misclassification of workers.” Misclassification is a form of payroll fraud that puts lawful companies that appropriately classify their employees at a competitive disadvantage in the marketplace and unfairly penalizes hard-working Americans who are deprived pay and benefits. “When employees are wrongly classified as independent contractors, the companies that employ them fail to pay appropriate employment taxes, starving jurisdictions of vital revenue and forcing taxpayers and honest companies to make up the difference,” added Jacobson.

The budget includes $90 million for apprenticeship programs, “a proven pathway to the middle class” and “a proven strategy for preparing workers for careers,” according to the President’s budget. This funding would support grants and related funding for apprenticeship programs registered under the National Apprenticeship Act.
The budget would also establish a $2 billion Apprenticeship Training Fund, funded at $400 million per year over five years. The Fund would assist employers who provide apprenticeship training and would support historically underrepresented groups with apprenticeships. The Apprenticeship Training Fund would support the President’s goal of doubling the number of U.S. apprentices, a priority for the Construction Employers of America, whose members make significant investments in workforce training and apprenticeships.

Construction Employers of America is a joint initiative to coordinate action on labor, workforce, and construction issues facing our industries. CEA will work to strengthen the construction industry and provide opportunities for top-quality construction workers to learn and maintain the skills they need to deliver highly productive, quality workmanship that provides the best value to project owners while earning high-value compensation and benefits for themselves, their families, and their communities. Information about the CEA can be found online at www.constructionemployersofamerica.com.