Tag Archives: construction

Michael Bill, CEO of MJ Insurance.

MJ Insurance Named One of the Largest Brokers in U.S.

MJ Insurance, one of the nation’s leading property-casualty and employee benefits agencies, is one of the “100 Largest Broker of U.S. Business” according to Business Insurance magazine. MJ ranked No. 97 in the publication’s 2014 list. This is the second consecutive year that MJ Insurance has received the honor.

Companies are ranked by 2013 brokerage revenue generated by U.S.-based clients. MJ Insurance was recognized by the publication in 2013 as well. The agency increased revenue by more than 11 percent from 2012 to 2013.

“We are proud to be recognized for our growth, but that is only one small measure of our success,” said MJ Insurance CEO Michael H. Bill. “Over the past couple of months we have added new services and employees to better meet the needs of our clients.”

MJ Insurance, with offices in Indiana and Arizona, is a property-casualty and employee benefit agency that, since 1964, has grown from a two-person start-up to an agency with more than 125 employees. In 2014, MJ celebrates its 50th ‘golden’ anniversary.

MJ Insurance specializes in a diverse selection of unique service lines including construction, energy, transportation, real estate, manufacturing, sororities and mining. MJ also offers complete employee benefit programs including major medical, group disability, group life and onsite employer clinics. MJ Insurance currently has clients in 16 countries and in every U.S. state.

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MJ Insurance reports record revenue

MJ Insurance, one of the nation’s largest privately-held insurance agencies, has reported double digit year-over-year growth with an 11 percent increase across all business lines. The agency also reported record all-time high revenues of $25 million.

MJ’s fiscal year runs from September to September and for fiscal 2013, MJ saw solid growth in both employee benefits and in property and casualty revenues. Even as the economy has struggled, MJ has recorded strong revenue gains over the past five years.

Michael H. Bill, CEO of MJ Insurance, attributes the growth and record revenue to continued investment through the economic downturn in both employees and value-added services for clients.

“Our approach is to align our efforts with clients that emphasize value and this has proven beneficial as the economy has improved,” said Bill. “Challenges brought forth with health care reform have also allowed us to help guide businesses through this historic change.”

MJ Insurance, with offices in Indiana and Arizona, is a property-casualty and employee benefits agency that, since 1964, has grown from a two-person start-up to an agency with more than 125 employees. In 2014, MJ will celebrate its 50th ‘golden’ anniversary.

MJ Insurance specializes in a diverse selection of unique service lines including construction, energy, transportation, real estate, manufacturing, sororities and mining. MJ also offers complete employee benefits programs including major medical, group disability, group life and onsite employer clinics. MJ Insurance currently has clients in 16 countries and in every U.S. state.

child.hospital

SRP Donates $50,000 Toward Ronald McDonald House

Salt River Project has approved a $50,000 donation toward construction of a new Ronald McDonald House on the campus of Cardon Children’s Medical Center in Mesa.  The new House will be the first in the East Valley and the third in the Phoenix metropolitan area.

The new 12,600 square foot Ronald McDonald House will be located in a renovated former residential facility adjacent to the hospital.  The House will include 16 bedrooms, kitchen, common area, indoor dining room, two outdoor dining areas, work spaces and an outdoor play area.

The two operating Ronald McDonald Houses are located at 501 E. Roanoke Ave. and on the campus of Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

“For more than 100 years, water and power have been essential to SRP’s mission of building a strong Arizona. Equally important is our commitment to improving the communities where we work and live,” said SRP President David Rousseau.  “We are proud to support Banner’s Cardon Children’s Hospital, which provides the East Valley and Arizona with access to quality pediatric care, as well as the Ronald McDonald House Charities as it provides vital services and comfort to families in times of great stress and crisis.”

The joint fundraising effort between Ronald McDonald House Charities and Banner Health Foundation has so far raised $1.22 million toward the $2.1 million goal and is expected to be completed by the end of the fourth quarter this year.

“Salt River Project is an important partner for the Ronald McDonald House in our effort to serve the East Valley, and we are incredibly grateful for this generous contribution to help meet our fund-raising goal,” said RMHC Executive Director Nancy Roach.

In 2012, more than 1,850 families stayed at the two Ronald McDonald Houses in Phoenix, nearly 90 percent from Arizona but also from 23 states and 11 countries.  The average length of stay was 15 days.

The new House will be the first serving the East Valley.  Families staying at Ronald McDonald Houses must live outside a 30-mile radius from the nearest House.

No one is ever turned away for not being able to pay the $15 nightly fee asked of families whose children are undergoing medical care in the Valley.

The cost for housing a family for one night is $51.  In 2012, only 12% of families staying at a Ronald McDonald House in Phoenix were able to pay all or part of the fee.  Community donations and contributions help cover the difference between the daily cost and the fee the House asks for those who can afford to pay.

For information about making a donation to the Ronald McDonald House capital campaign, contact Jerry Diaz, Director of Development, (602) 798-5092 or jdiaz@rmhcphoenix.com.  For more information about Ronald McDonald Charities of Phoenix, visit www.rmhcphoenix.com.

Jack Stephenson 2013

Stephenson elected Sun Health Services Board chairman

R. Jack Stephenson has been elected chairman of the board for Sun Health Services for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

Stephenson, a resident of Sun City West, has a rich history of civic involvement, serving as president of both the Sun City West Rotary Club and the Briarwood Country Club in 2011. He previously served as vice chairman of the Sun Health Services Board, and has been active on a number of board committees as well as the Sun Health Foundation Board.

The founder/owner of the Pacific Northwest law firm Carney, Stephenson, Badley, Smith & Spellman, Stephenson’s distinguished legal career stretched nearly four decades. His areas of concentration included construction, products liability, insurance coverage and environmental law.

“Jack brings an impressive combination of keen legal and business acumen that will serve us well in shaping Sun Health’s vision for healthy living,” Sun Health Chief Executive Officer Ron Guziak explained. “He has a passion for the role Sun Health plays in the West Valley and is a natural fit for this role.”

Stephenson previously served as chair of the Trial Practice section of the Washington State Bar Association and as president of Washington Defense Trial Lawyers. He also served as chair of environmental and coverage for the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel.

Stephenson also brings extensive real estate experience to the Sun Health Services Board, having owned a 70-acre apple and pear orchard and having managed a real estate LLC.

“I’m honored to serve as chairman,” Stephenson said. “This is an exciting time for Sun Health, with a number of new programs being introduced. I believe great things are ahead.”

An avid golfer, Stephenson has held numerous positions both at Briarwood as well as Sand Point Golf and Country Clubs in Seattle.

skysong

Construction Set To Begin on 3rd SkySong Building

Construction is set to begin on the third office building at SkySong, The ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center, continuing the momentum on one of the most successful commercial development projects in Arizona over the past few years.

With the first two office buildings at SkySong almost fully leased, work will begin on SkySong III on August 19, with a groundbreaking ceremony scheduled for late September.   The 145,000 square foot building will be located along SkySong Boulevard, just southwest of the project’s iconic shade structure.

Arizona State University will lease 1 ½ floors of the four-story building, and current SkySong tenant WebFilings will be expanding their presence in the project by taking a full floor in SkySong III.   Plaza Companies will be taking office space on the first floor.  Combined, the three anchor tenants allow construction to begin with the building already 65 percent leased.

Like the first two buildings, SkySong III will be built to meet LEED Certification standards. The architectural design not only complements the rest of the project and the overall architectural quality of the Scottsdale area, it also includes significant consideration for sustainability. DPR is the General Contractor and Butler Design is the architect for SkySong III.

Plaza Companies continues to be the master developer of the project, in partnership with the Arizona State University Foundation and the City of Scottsdale. The financing for SkySong III is being provided by Alliance Bank of Arizona, and Holualoa Companies of Tucson has partnered with Plaza Companies for this project.

Sharon Harper, President & CEO of Plaza Companies, said the start of construction is a significant milestone and an example of the positive impact created by SkySong.

“We are very pleased to continue to build the vision for SkySong as a technology and innovation hub,” Harper said. “SkySong has already had a tremendously positive impact on south Scottsdale and on Arizona’s economic development efforts as a whole. Despite the challenging economic conditions of the past few years, SkySong continued to thrive and attract economic growth.

“Now, with this new building and with the coming completion of the SkySong Apartments, the impact of SkySong on our community will become even more profound and positive.”

Don Couvillion, Vice President of Real Estate for the Arizona State University Foundation, said the growth of the SkySong project has made the vision ASU President Michael Crow had for the project back in the mid-2000s a reality.

“SkySong was built to create a unique location for companies with a focus on innovation and technology, and the project has succeeded in becoming a hub for forward-thinking entrepreneurship,” he said. “The impact that ASU SkySong has had, as part of the overall SkySong vision, on dozens of companies over the past few years has been particularly significant in creating new jobs and economic impact.”

Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane said that the impact of SkySong on southern Scottsdale has been critical in sparking new economic development in that part of the community.

“It’s just another sign of how that corridor is developing on all lines, with what’s promised, planned and underway,” he said. “SkySong has already made a significant impact in the Scottsdale and McDowell Road corridors in helping bring in new businesses and economic growth.”

The estimated construction cost of SkySong III is $32 million. The construction of SkySong III also includes a significant parking structure that will serve SkySong III and IV, as well as surface parking.

Additionally, pre-leasing continues on SkySong IV, which would be located next to SkySong III and face Scottsdale Road. SkySong IV is fully permitted and shovel-ready, and the SkySong team continues to work with prospective anchor tenants.

More than 1,000 employees and 50 companies are located on the SkySong property. Completion of SkySong III and IV and the apartments would bring the total square footage of development at SkySong to more than 900,000 square feet.

SkySong, the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center is a home to a global business community that links technology, entrepreneurship, innovation, and education to position ASU and Greater Phoenix as global leaders of the knowledge economy.

SkySong is a 42-acre mixed use development designed to:

  • Create an ecology of collaboration and innovation among high-profile technology enterprises and related researchers;
  • Advance global business objectives of on-site enterprises;
  • Raise Arizona’s profile as a global center of innovation through co-location of ASU’s strategic global partners; and
  • Create a unique regional economic and social asset.

Companies located at SkySong enjoy a special relationship with Arizona State University, which has more than 73,000 students at four metropolitan Phoenix campuses. Its campus in Tempe is the single largest campus in the U.S., and is located less than three miles from SkySong.

In addition to locating its own innovative research units at the center, ASU provides tenants with direct access to relevant research, educational opportunities and cultural events on its campuses. Through ASU’s on-site operations, tenant companies have a single point of contract for introductions to researchers, faculty and programs to address their specific needs.

For more information on SkySong, visit www.skysongcenter.com or www.facebook.com/skysongcenter.

stk313118rkn

Steptoe hosts Construction Industry Tax Seminar

Contractors, developers, construction managers, and homebuilders are invited to attend Steptoe & Johnson’s 10th Annual Construction Industry Tax Seminar co-sponsored by the AzBusiness Magazine. Steptoe’s tax lawyers will bring participants an annual update on the latest developments in Arizona’s sales and property taxation.

The seminar will take place September 27, 2013 and the Arizona Biltmore Resort.
The program will focus on new legislation, which if passed and signed by the Governor, will turn the sales taxation of contracting upside down–from taxing the prime contractor to taxing the sale of building materials, except for road and bridge construction where the prime contractor will still be taxed (H.B. 2111). In addition, seminar leaders will bring you up to date on legislation (already signed by the Governor) that does away with the “permanent attachment” test under the exemption for installing exempt machinery and equipment (H.B. 2535).

Speakers include Pat Derdenger, Dawn Gabel, Frank Crociata and Ben Gardner, all members of Steptoe’s Tax Group in Phoenix. Steptoe’s tax lawyers bring to clients decades of consulting, transactional, and advocacy experience in all substantive areas of federal and state taxation.

The luncheon speaker will be Hon. John Shadegg, partner in Steptoe’s Phoenix office and former US Congressman. He will give his perspective on the Affordable Care Act and how it will impact Arizona businesses.

For more information, call 602-257-7708. Register online at www.steptoe.com.

Sonoran Const 2[30]

JCL building Sonoran Health and Emergency Center

Visible construction of John C. Lincoln’s Sonoran Health and Emergency Center is rising on 22 acres south of Sonoran Boulevard near Interstate 17 in North Phoenix. The medical complex remains on target to open in December 2013.

Initially, the $18 million Sonoran Health and Emergency Center will be a 40,000-square-foot facility housing emergency and medical imaging services and breast health with 3-D mammography. It will employ approximately 40 staff members.

The facility cost funds site work, construction, furnishings and medical equipment. The cost does not include a 120-bed hospital that ultimately is planned to be built on the site. The hospital and additional medical office buildings will be developed at a later time determined by developments in the area’s economy and population growth.

John C. Lincoln already has two hospitals under its umbrella: John C. Lincoln Deer Valley Hospital at the Loop 101 and I-17 and John C. Lincoln North Mountain Hospital on Dunlap in North Central Phoenix. The Health Network also includes the John C. Lincoln Health Center with Urgent Care at Anthem, 27 primary care physician practices including 12 in the North Valley, and the Desert Mission health and human services for the under- and uninsured members of the community.

The medical complex was designed by the Devenny Group, Ltd., and is being built by DPR Construction, according to Sheila Gerry, John C. Lincoln senior vice president, Real Estate and Facilities Development. The Health Network acquired the site in October 2012 from shopping mall developer Macerich and its Westcor division for $5.6 million.

Ground was broken and construction began on the Sonoran Health and Emergency Center during the first week of December 2012. Macerich put in road and water infrastructure to accommodate the medical complex development. Santa Monica, Calif.-based Macerich still owns an adjacent 55 acres in the development along I-17 south of the Carefree Highway.

Green Law - Valley Forward’s Goals Are Important To Dan Litteral’s Company, Apollo Group

ASU law school construction will start in 2014

Construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2014 in a plan to relocate Arizona State University’s law school from the Tempe campus to downtown Phoenix.

The East Valley Tribune reports that costs for the law school’s new six-story building are estimated at $100 million to $120 million.

The building is expected to be completed in late 2015 and should open in 2016.

The Phoenix City Council has given its staff the go-ahead to begin negotiations to develop the university’s Arizona Center for Law and Society on city controlled property.

Phoenix is contributing $12 million into the project.

healthcare

Regents OK construction of Phoenix Cancer Center

The state Board of Regents has given final approval for construction of the University of Arizona Cancer Center-Phoenix outpatient clinic.

The regents on Thursday also approved a ground lease for nearly 2 acres from the city at the Phoenix Biomedical Campus and a 20-year facility lease with St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center/Dignity Health.

Construction on the $100 million cancer center will begin later this month. The six-story, 230,000-square-foot clinic should be open to patients by early 2015.

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Cost of Kitt Peak wildlife crossings soar

Construction costs for two wildlife crossings planned on Ajo Highway near Kitt Peak have soared by nearly 60 percent.

The Arizona Daily Star reports the crossings now are expected to cost about $1.2 million.

A Tohono O’odham Police Department report provided to Pima County’s Regional Transportation Authority shows nearly 20 percent of crashes in the area involve animals. The two under-crossing structures are meant to reduce that number.

RTA transportation services director Jim DeGrood says the Arizona Department of Transportation wants to build them now in conjunction with an ongoing highway-widening project.

The RTA Board approved $746,280 for the project last year and on Thursday approved another $154,000. The Arizona Department of Transportation will pay for the remaining shortfall of about $291,000.

architectural photography

Construction Begins on Final Villas at Sterling at Silverleaf

More than $7 million of real estate has sold at Sterling at Silverleaf since it re-launched in the market last November and now construction is underway of two of its final four remaining villas in phase one.

Starting at $1.36 million, Sterling at Silverleaf is a collection of 16 villas designed by the world-renowned architect Bing Hu and developed by Sterling Collection Development Group.

Construction of the two new models will be completed in March and sell-out is expected by the end of the year. Sterling Collection Development Group is beginning the planning stages of phase two.

“We’re proud of the success we’ve experienced over the past several months and we’ve been able to position ourselves on the leading edge of luxury development as the market begins to recover,” said Nathan Day, president of Sterling Collection Development Group. “It was a big risk to launch a luxury residential community in an economy that indicated the timing wasn’t right. But, for us, we wanted to get ahead of the market and we knew our product was unlike anything in the area. We priced the community aggressively. Buyers took notice of our value-driven approach and our rapid sales success proves it was the right decision.”

Sterling at Silverleaf provides unmatched value for buyers looking to purchase within the prestigious Silverleaf community.

The real estate market in Silverleaf has held strong over the past year, consistently maintaining a higher price-per-square-foot average on closed homes in the Valley. Buyer and builder confidence remains high in the area with 34 homes currently under construction in Silverleaf. Overall, home inventory is down in Silverleaf and prices are increasing. Within the past year, home site sales have increased by 22 percent in the area.

In March, Sterling at Silverleaf was awarded gold-level certification by the National Association of Homebuilders green building program, NAHBGreen. This makes Sterling at Silverleaf the first and only single-family, new construction project in Arizona to achieve this level, making the villas the greenest homes in Arizona. There are less than 400 communities nationwide that have received gold-level certification.

Sterling at Silverleaf features a timeless approach to Mediterranean design and a distinctive combination of Italian Renaissance and Spanish Revival architecture. Lush courtyards, mature landscaping and sweeping mountain and city views offer residents a respite in the high-desert, while providing convenient access to upscale shopping, dining and entertainment. All villas include Crestron home automation systems operated by iPads, Isokern full masonry fireplaces, Trane FreshEffects air filtration systems and Wolf and Sub-Zero appliances throughout.

Silverleaf is recognized as one of Arizona’s most sought-after residential communities, comprised of 2,000 acres nestled in the peaceful McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Home to the invitation-only Silverleaf Club, the club features a 50,000-square-foot rural Mediterranean-style clubhouse and spa, and an 18-hole golf course designed by PGA Champion Tom Weiskopf.

The Silverleaf Group of DMB Realty Network manages sales for the community and can be reached at (480) 502-6902. For more information on Sterling at Silverleaf, visit www.sterlingatsilverleaf.com.

Sundt Construction, Arizona

Sundt Construction Expands To New Mexico, N. Carolina And Texas

Arizona-based general contractor Sundt Construction has expanded its operations, opening three satellite offices in Albuquerque, N.M.; Cary, N.C. and El Paso, Texas. The offices will support active projects in those areas.

“During Sundt’s 122-year history, we have completed projects across the United States and around the world,” said Doug Pruitt, CEO and Chairman of Sundt Construction. “The opening of these satellite offices aligns with our plans for growth, and will help us best serve our current and future clients and partners in those markets.”

The El Paso office supports work underway at the Fort Bliss military installation, including housing projects, tactical facilities and infrastructure, training ranges, tank trails and more. It will also act as the hub for West Texas project work for public agencies and private owners alike.

The El Paso satellite location is the second Texas office to open in the last year and a half. In February 2010, Sundt established a Texas District headquarters in San Antonio in light of its active projects and long history in the Lone Star State, which includes more than 40 years and $1 billion in project work.

In addition to its work at Fort Bliss, the company is working on projects at Fort Hood in Killeen and Fort Sam Houston near San Antonio, as well as the Public Safety Answering Point / 9-1-1 Dispatch Center in San Antonio. The most recent Texas project win came last month when the Texas Department of Transportation awarded Sundt a $24.1 million civil construction contract to renovate the W. Seventh Street Bridge in Fort Worth.

In North Carolina, Sundt’s Cary office supports work underway at Camp Lejeune. The company is working for the U.S. Navy Facilities Engineering Command to construct two Marine Corps barracks facilities with a total of 370 units at Camp Lejeune. Sundt hopes to increase its presence throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions, where it has a history inclusive of federal and private sector projects.

In New Mexico, Sundt’s Albuquerque office supports work at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. Sundt presently serves as the Construction Manager at Risk for the $22 million Chamisa Village project, which includes the construction of three new three-story buildings, associated site development, utilities and self-perform concrete work. The new buildings total 127,000 square feet and will house approximately 300 students in two- and four-bedroom apartments situated around central courtyards.

Designed by Steinberg Architects, Chamisa Village will seek LEED Gold for Homes certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, which would make it the first Gold-certified multi-unit university building in New Mexico.

Ed Robson, Founder of Robson Communities, AZ Business Magazine May/June 2011

Edward J. Robson of Robson Communities Talks First Jobs

Edward J. Robson
Title: Founder/Chairman
Company: Robson Communities

Describe your very first job and what you learned from it.
I had several first jobs growing up. I knew at a young age I wanted to make money, so I decided to go door-to-door offering to shovel snow in the winter time for just $2. Then, when it got warmer in the summertime, I went door-to-door offering to cut lawns. … I was also a paperboy. All of those jobs made me learn that if you do a good job, you will get hired back.

Describe your first job in your industry.
I was in high school and hand dug a cellar for a home. In other words, I worked in construction. When I moved to Arizona I got into real estate mainly because it was interesting and rewarding. I learned from my first job in the industry that if you don’t sell, you don’t get paid. I had a lot to lose since I was supporting my wife and kids, so I worked hard.

What were your salaries?
I made $2 per home shoveling snow and $5 per home cutting lawns. It didn’t matter how long it took, I still got paid that amount.

Who is your biggest mentor?
I worked directly for Del Webb for one year and learned a lot. Del Webb instilled confidence in myself and gave me a lot of responsibility at a young age. He truly believed in me.

What advice would you give to a person entering your  industry?
If a person wants to enter the industry and work for someone else, my advice is to be a producer! You can’t be afraid of admitting a mistake. Mistakes are part of learning.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing instead?

This is a hard question for me because I believe that the sum of your choices directs your life. … I have no idea what I would be doing instead, but I know that whatever I ended up doing, I wanted to be successful.

 

Arizona Business Magazine May/June 2011

Phoenix Children's Hospital, Kitchell

Kitchell Delivers PCH Transformation 4 Months Early and $48M Under Budget

Wednesday, June 1, marked a milestone for Kitchell as the $538M patient tower opened at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

The hospital is Kitchell’s largest project in the firm’s 60-plus year history. Kitchell broke ground on the 11-story facility in May 2008. With hundreds of new beds and new clinics, PCH will now treat children who need outpatient care in a variety of specialties, including dermatology, endocrinology, pulmonology, gastroenterology and orthopedics.

Modeled on a night-blooming desert flower and visible from throughout the Valley, PCH is visually striking but it is the inner workings of the hospital that are most remarkable.

“Working on Phoenix Children’s Hospital has not only been a career highlight for all of us on the team, but it has been personally fulfilling, as well,” says Kitchell senior vice president Dan Pierce. “PCH has touched each of us at some point, whether directly with our own families or with our friends’ families.

“Being a part of this monumental hospital transformation, right down the road from Kitchell headquarters, was gratifying, exciting and even humbling. At different times during construction, we had more than a thousand workers, including subcontractors, on the job site. It was simply amazing.”

“Kitchell has done a great job. The company exemplifies collaboration, integrity and excellence, says David Cottle, executive director of planning, design and construction for PCH.

I have been particularly impressed with the attention to the tiniest details to ensure the best possible quality. This has been a large project wedged into a residential neighborhood. Kitchell made it a top priority to plan and phase the work so that construction congestion had only a limited impact on the surrounding community.”

In addition to more than 1,000 workers on the site at one time, other noteworthy numbers of the PCH tower construction:

•               Number of days from ground breaking to grand opening: 1,107 calendar days

•               Construction man-hours worked:  3,206,803 through mid-May 2011

•               Wire (power): 7,500,000 feet

•               Concrete: 35,496 cubic yards

•               Rebar – 3,267,379 pounds

•               Dirt removed for the Tower basement: 75,000 cubic yards

•               Structural steel: 6,500 tons

•               Lobby/elevator mosaic:  450,000 1”x1” tiles

Reviving the Construction Industry

Plan to Revive Construction Industry Unveiled

The Associated General Contractors of America released a new national plan today detailing measures to stimulate demand for construction. Officials said the plan was needed to reverse construction employment declines that have taken place in 317 out of 337 metro areas since January 2007, according to new data the association released today.

“Our goal is to rebuild a devastated construction market that has left millions jobless, littered cities with incomplete projects and sapped much needed revenue, commerce and customers out of our economy,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Considering the scope and impact of construction job losses, the last thing any of us can afford is a repeat of the past four years.”

The plan, called “Building a Stronger Future, A New Blueprint for Economic Growth,” outlines measures to help boost private sector demand for construction, help tackle a growing infrastructure maintenance backlog and reduce needless red tape and regulations. Sandherr said the association developed the plan to overcome the years-long construction downturn that has left over 2.2 million construction workers unemployed and the industry’s unemployment rate at 21.8 percent, more than twice the national average.

Sandherr released the plan and the new employment figures, during a visit to Phoenix,  which has lost more construction jobs – 91,400 – than any other metro area since the start of the construction downturn in January 2007, a 54 percent decline. Nationwide, 28 cities lost 50 percent or more of their construction jobs, including Boise, Idaho; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Medford, Ore.; and Merced, Calif., Sandherr noted.

The metro areas that lost the most construction jobs during the past four years, besides Phoenix, included Las Vegas (-61,900 jobs, -61 percent); Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. (-57,700 jobs, -51 percent); the Atlanta area (-57,700 jobs, -42 percent); and the Los Angeles area (-56,200 jobs, -37 percent).

Lake Havasu City-Kingman (-65 percent, -4,200 jobs) and Bend, Ore. (-65 percent, -5,200 jobs) lost the highest percentage of construction jobs of any metro area. They were followed by St. George, Utah (-62 percent, -5,200 jobs); Las Vegas; and Naples, Fla. (-61 percent, -13,700 jobs).

Only 14 metro areas added construction jobs during the past four years, while employment levels were unchanged in another six. The five metro areas with the largest construction employment gains were all in Texas: Beaumont-Port Arthur (3,400 jobs, 21 percent); Longview (3,100 jobs, 26 percent); Midland (2,100 jobs, 15 percent); El Paso (1,900 jobs, 14 percent); and Odessa (1,800 jobs, 17 percent).

Pascagoula, Miss., experienced the highest percentage increase in construction employment (47 percent, 1,600 jobs) during the past four years. Other metro areas adding a high percentage of construction jobs included Longview; Beaumont-Port Arthur; Lawton, Okla. (20 percent, 300 jobs); and Odessa.

“In too many metro areas, the construction industry is a mere shadow of what it was just four years ago,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist, who prepared the new employment analysis. “This new data should make it pretty clear that the sector’s revival is anything but guaranteed.”

Sandherr said the recovery plan emphasizes boosting private sector demand, which once accounted for 76 percent of all construction activity, but now accounts for only 60 percent. It calls for approving pending trade agreements to boost demand for manufacturing and shipping facilities, repealing the alternative minimum tax and making permanent the tax cuts that were first put in place in 2001 and 2003.

The plan also identifies new tax credits to encourage retail and restaurant upgrades, improve the efficiency of commercial buildings and help contractors invest in new, more efficient construction equipment. And it urges Congress and the Administration to finally end the double taxation of U.S-based businesses that succeed in international markets.

Sandherr noted the plan includes measures to tackle infrastructure problems that cost American businesses an estimated $100 billion a year due to delays and lost productivity. It calls for significant reforms to federal surface, aviation and waterways programs. And it urges federal officials to refocus on efforts that are clearly in the national interest, streamline the years-long federal review process, and find new ways to leverage private sector dollars.

Sandherr added that the plan also includes comprehensive measures to reduce costly, time consuming and needless regulatory burdens. It calls on Congress to pass legislation limiting major new regulations, reform the approval process for new highway and transit projects and oppose well-meaning labor and Buy American mandates that do little to create new jobs and a lot to add costs and delay work.

The plan also highlights the need to repeal a costly new mandate set to begin next year that requires governments at all levels to withhold three percent of the cost of virtually all major construction projects from contractors. “For an industry where most firms are lucky to make three percent in profit on a project, this new mandate will either put a lot of people out of work or needlessly inflate the cost of public construction,” Sandherr cautioned.

Unemployment

Arizona’s Unemployment Rate Drops in November

The state’s unemployment rate dropped one-tenth of a percent to 9.4 percent in November, as the economy added 12,800 jobs. The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) reports today that the private sector generated 9,300 jobs, while government added 3,500. Traditional holiday hiring boosted the November job gains.



Nov. ’10 Oct. ’10 Nov. ’09
United States 9.8% 9.6% 10%
Arizona 9.4% 9.5% 9.3%



This is the fourth consecutive month of over-the-year gains in total nonfarm employment. The state’s 1 percent year-over-year gain in November was higher than the nation’s gain of 0.6 percent. Arizona’s 1 percent gain totals about 24,900 jobs added since the previous November.

“Overall, Arizona’s employment situation continues to improve,” according to the ACA employment report.



Nov. ’10
Oct. ’10
Nov. ’09
Overall 2,448 2,435.2 2,423.1
Monthly Change 0.5% 1.3% 0.6%
Annual Change 1% 1.1% -6.5%



Over the month, six out of the state’s 11 major sectors saw job gains. The sector that had the most gains for the month was trade, transportation and utilities, with 9,900, mostly due to the 8,700 jobs gained in the retail sector.

Gains were reported in: professional and business services (2,300); educational and health services (1,700); government (3,500); manufacturing (600); and information (400).

Losses were reported in: construction (-3,000); financial activities (-900); leisure and hospitality (-900); other services (-700); and natural resources and mining (-100).

Construction lost the most jobs of any sector in November, but it still is recording net job gains for 2010.

The unemployment rates climbed in almost all of the state’s largest metro areas.


Nov. ’10
Oct. ’10
Nov. ’09
Phoenix Metro 8.9% 8.4% 8.7%
Tucson Metro 8.8% 8.3% 8.5%
Yuma Metro 26.8% 25.7% 22.4%
Flagstaff Metro 8.1% 7.8% 8.1%
Prescott Metro 10.2% 9.7% 9.8%
LHC-Kingman Metro 10.9% 10.9% 9.8%
Real Estate/Construction in Arizona

Construction Spending Up 0.7%, Driven By Surge In Power, Public Projects

Total construction spending increased by 0.7 percent in October, driven largely by growing demand for power projects and public construction, the Associated General Contractors of America noted today in an analysis of new Census Bureau data.

The new data, however, indicated continued weakness in many construction categories, including private nonresidential and single family construction, association officials observed.

“Without any upward trend in key private-sector construction components like homes and office buildings, it is hard to feel optimistic about the near future,” says Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “With public construction at risk of cutbacks, it is premature to conclude that construction has awakened from its long nightmare.”

Simonson added that power construction increased by 8.8 percent between September and October at a seasonally adjusted rate, although the total remained 3.9 percent below the year-ago level. Public construction, aided by federal spending on stimulus, military base realignment and Gulf Coast hurricane-control projects, edged up 0.4 percent for the month and 2.2 percent year-over-year.

Private nonresidential construction, however, slumped 0.7 percent in October, leaving the total 20.7 percent below the October 2009 figure. All 11 of the Census Bureau’s private nonresidential categories were below year-ago levels, Simonson added, with only private power and transportation showing gains from September.

Private residential investment jumped 2.5 percent for the month. However, Simonson cautioned that the apparent leap is attributable to a 3.2 percent advance in new multi-family construction and a 6.2 percent rise in improvements to existing properties, whereas single-family construction sank 1.2 percent for the month.

Association officials said that a proposal released today by the Deficit Commission to increase investments in highways, bridges and transit system construction provided some room for optimism. They urged Congress to embrace the transportation proposal, noting it would help the economy over the long run while giving a much-needed boost to short term construction demand.

“The best way to reduce the deficit and simultaneously support a strong and expanding economy is to invest in our aging network of highways, bridges and transit systems,” said Stephen E. Sandherr. “Even as the broader report calls for dramatic reductions in federal spending, it is clear that our country can’t afford to neglect its infrastructure.”

Arizona leads nation in Construction Employment

Arizona Leads Way As Construction Employment Expands In 29 States

Construction employment expanded in 29 states between September and October with Arizona leading the way, the Associated General Contractors of America reported in an analysis of state employment data released today by the Labor Department.

The new figures continue a nearly year-long trend of ups and downs in construction employment as the industry performs stimulus-funded work yet grapples with broad market uncertainty.

“Considering that most states adding construction jobs in October had shed workers in September, it is safe to say that construction employment remains volatile,” says Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Construction is no longer in free fall, but the industry remains fragile as improvements vary greatly by state and project type.”

Arizona (4.4 percent, 5,000 jobs) experienced the largest one-month seasonally adjusted percentage increase and Texas (2.3 percent, 8,800 jobs) the largest one-month total increase in construction employment between September and October.

Other states adding large numbers of construction jobs during October included Illinois (1.5 percent, 3,000 jobs); Washington (2.1 percent, 3,000 jobs); South Carolina (3.2 percent, 2,500 jobs); and Colorado (1.6 percent, 1,800 jobs).

Simonson noted 20 states plus the District of Columbia lost construction jobs during the past month, while construction employment remained unchanged in Rhode Island. Minnesota (-2.7 percent, -2,300 jobs) lost the highest percent of construction jobs for the month while Florida lost the most jobs (-2.4 percent, -8,600 jobs). Among other states losing construction jobs between September and October were Pennsylvania (-1.0 percent, -2,200 jobs); Maryland (-1.3 percent, -1,900 jobs); Georgia (-1.2 percent, -1,800 jobs); and Massachusetts (-1.4 percent, -1,500 jobs).

Eleven states and D.C. added construction jobs for the year, Simonson added. The largest year-over-year percentage increase was in Kansas, where construction employment rose 9.0 percent (5,100 jobs), followed by Oklahoma (8.1 percent, 5,400 jobs); Arkansas (5.1 percent, 2,600 jobs); D.C. (4.6 percent, 500 jobs); and West Virginia (3.3 percent, 1,100 jobs).

Among the 39 states that lost construction jobs over the past 12 months, Nevada experienced the largest percentage decline (-19.5 percent, -14,500) while California lost the most jobs (-45,700, -7.9 percent). Other states experiencing large declines for the year include Idaho (-15.2 percent, -5,000 jobs); Vermont (-13.4 percent, -1,800 jobs); Montana (-10.5 percent, -2,500 jobs); and Missouri (-10.3 percent, -11,900 jobs).

Association officials said that temporary stimulus funding has helped the industry, but that most firms were worried about business levels for next year. They added that private, state and local demand for construction remains weak, while long-term federal infrastructure programs and tax rates remain in limbo. “We won’t see sustained job growth until the private sector picks up and long-term federal plans are clear,” says Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s CEO.

Construction Declines in 31 States

Construction Employment Declines In 31 States

Construction employment declined in 31 states between August and September with fewer people working in that field compared to last year in 40 states, the Associated General Contractors of America reported in an analysis of state employment data released today by the Labor Department.

Construction employment is likely to continue to worsen amid uncertainty about federal spending and tax rates for next year, association officials noted.

Arizona lost 700 construction jobs during that period. Compared to the same period last year, Arizona has lost 4,400 construction jobs.

“Construction firms are caught between a difficult present and an uncertain future,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Looking ahead, nobody knows what will happen to the only thing keeping the current market from getting worse, federal spending, as long-term water, energy and transportation spending programs remain in limbo.”

Simonson noted that Rhode Island (-2.9 percent, -500 jobs) lost the highest percent of construction jobs for the month while California lost the most jobs (-2.5 percent, -13,300 jobs). Among other states losing construction jobs between August and September were Texas (-1.2 percent, -7,000 jobs), New York (-1.8 percent, 5,800 jobs), Ohio (-2.5 percent, -4,400 jobs), and Pennsylvania (-1.1 percent, -2,500 jobs).

Hawaii (4.9 percent, 1,400 jobs) and Minnesota (3.8 percent, 3,100 jobs) experienced the largest one-month percentage increase in construction employment between August and September. Besides those two states, another 13 and the District of Columbia added jobs, while construction employment was unchanged in four states. Other states with increases in construction employment included Florida (0.5 percent, 1,700 jobs), Georgia (1.0 percent, 1,500 jobs), Washington (0.8 percent, 1,100 jobs) and Illinois (0.4 percent, 700 jobs).

Simonson noted that nine states and D.C. added construction jobs for the year while employment in Alaska was unchanged. The largest year-over-year increase was in Oklahoma, where construction employment rose 9.8 percent (6,500 jobs), followed by Kansas (8.9 percent, 5,000 jobs), New Hampshire (8.0 percent, 1,800 jobs), the District of Columbia (4.5 percent, 500 jobs), and Arkansas (3.5 percent, 1,800 jobs).

Among the 40 states that lost construction jobs over the past twelve months, Nevada experienced the largest percentage decline (-19.3 percent, -14,200) in jobs while California lost the most jobs (-50,700, -8.8 percent). Other states experiencing large declines for the year include Vermont (-14.1 percent, -1,900 jobs), Idaho (-12.3 percent, -4,000), Colorado (-11.5 percent, -14,200 jobs), and Kentucky (-9.8 percent, -7,000 jobs).

Association officials cautioned that construction employment will continue to stagnate as firms, already coping with depressed private, state and local demand, contend with an uncertain federal marketplace. Adding to the confusion, officials said, was that tax rates for most small construction firms have also not been set for next year. “Adding uncertainty and confusion into an already bleak market is a good way to keep construction workers out of a job,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer.

Local neighborhood

Can Sustainable Housing Really Be A Part of Arizona’s Future?

Perched on the threshold of economic recovery, cities whose housing markets crashed and burned during the Great Recession are struggling like modern-day Phoenix birds to rise from the ashes.

While rebirth comes naturally for some, others seem caught between a trap labeled “sprawl” and a wide-open window tagged “sustainability.”

The question is, can cities that once embraced policies favoring sprawl over density buy into a new vision calling for a more sustainable, livable and socially just way of life? The shift required may be dramatic, but it’s not impossible.

The sprawl trap is certainly familiar territory for Phoenix, a post-WWII boom town where production builders John F. Long and Del Webb are hailed as the Godfathers of Post-Modern Development. Using innovations like simple, mass-production construction techniques, Long and Webb delivered Phoenix’s first work force housing to an eager middle-class audience.

Now, a half-century later, sprawl and the suburbs are being blamed for everything from global warming to social segregation. High suburban-growth states like Arizona, California, Nevada and Florida felt the busted housing bubble like a sock to the gut two years ago. And, faced with aging infrastructure and higher maintenance costs, fringe communities are now home to the country’s largest and fastest growing poor population, according to a report by the Brookings Institution. Between 2000 and 2008, the country’s largest metro areas saw their poor population grow by 25 percent, almost five times faster than either primary cities or rural areas, the report states.

Many economists believe the country’s latest economic pause presents the opportunity for a massive do-over; a chance for cities to end their love affair with the automobile and hook up, instead, with development practices that create more dense, walkable neighborhoods.

The Obama administration evidently agrees.

“The days where we’re just building sprawl forever, those days are over,” President Obama declared shortly after taking office. He followed up those remarks earlier this year by telling the U.S. Conference of Mayors, “When it comes to development, it’s time to throw out old policies that encouraged sprawl and congestion, pollution, and ended up isolating our communities in the process.”

The President’s willingness to back up his convictions with $1.5 billion in TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grants and $1 million set aside for regional integrated planning initiatives is further proof that the suburban landscape is indeed changing. So is the federal government’s new Partnership for Sustainable Communities, an all-hands-on-deck approach to smart growth by the Department of Transportation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Environmental Protection Agency. It — along with the government’s “Smart Growth Guidelines for Sustainable Design & Development” — presents a radical new perspective on how future growth is handled, and offers a lifeline to municipalities looking to turn over a new and greener leaf.

But, for cities like Phoenix, where density has traditionally been considered a dirty word, the challenge is not so much where the money is coming from, as it is how to change public perception. Will Phoenix, with its Wild West sensibilities and traditionally renegade attitude, take kindly to federal intervention intended to help wean itself from a dependence on sprawling development?

In all honesty, it’s likely to be a tough sell. True, infill development takes advantage of current infrastructure and services and produces a measurably smaller environmental impact than does its conventional counterpart. True, higher-density building creates additional living options for homeowners in the way of row houses, walk-ups and brownstones. And true, Phoenicians, like many Americans, acknowledge they would rather walk than drive, or at the very least, have access to more transit-oriented housing, making it easier and more convenient for them to utilize public transportation.

The first step forward, however, will have to come from developers and municipal leaders willing to reach out a hand and grab the support line being offered in the way of these new smart-growth initiatives and incentives.

“Successfully addressing the challenges and opportunities of growing smarter and building greener will require that communities collaborate with each other, as well as with regional, state and federal agencies and organizations,” write the authors of Smart Growth Guidelines for Sustainable Design & Development. The end reward, they say, is decisions that benefit households in the form of greater choice, lower combined housing and transportation costs and healthier communities, thereby producing stronger local economies.

Isn’t that what communities like Phoenix, that are battling their way out of the recession, really need? Shelley Poticha, a transportation reformer and Partnership for Sustainable Communities senior adviser, thinks so.

“To me this is about helping to rebuild our economy, about growing jobs in terms of making housing more energy-efficient,” she said in a grist.org interview. “It’s also about helping places and regions really understand where their economic future is going and how they can use that to be more sustainable.”

hardison/downey

hardison/downey Becomes Part of Kitchell

Two familiar names in Arizona’s construction industry are joining forces as hardison/downey construction inc. becomes part of Kitchell Corp., it was announced today.

The move is a transitioning from a joint-venture partnership between the two companies for the past four years.

“We have both historically served very distinct markets and rarely compete for business,” Kitchell CEO Jim Swanson said. “Our joint venture partnership in recent years demonstrates that our corporate values and cultures are closely aligned, so this transition makes perfect sense.”

Both Bob Hardison and Pat Downey, as well as the current management team including Jim Kurtzman, Mike Mongelli and Terri Rosko will remain involved in the company, overseeing the day-to-day operations and client relationships.

“I can’t imagine a better segue at this juncture in hardison/downey’s growth,” Hardison said. “We have worked with Kitchell for decades on various projects, and I’ve always had tremendous respect for their entrepreneurial spirit and diversity of services. Now hardison/downey will be a part of that storied success.”

Kitchell and hardison/downey have had a longstanding partnership that has spanned more than 20 years, and in 2006 evolved into a joint venture partnership specializing in building campus and senior housing communities. Under the name hardison/downey/kitchell, the JV’s projects include the LEED-Gold certified Barrett Honors College and Vista del Sol at Arizona State University. The JV’s current projects are Amethyst Gardens, a retirement and assisted living community in Peoria and student housing projects at the University of New Mexico.

hardison/downey will maintain its autonomy and its location – down the street from Kitchell’s corporate offices. The company will retain all of its employees, many whom have been with the company since its inception.

Vacancy Rising in Phoenix

Vacancy Rising In Phoenix Despite Construction Pullback

Though employment growth will stimulate an increase in retail sales in 2010, the job additions will not be sufficient to prevent the vacancy rate in Phoenix from rising for the fifth consecutive year, according to the latest Retail Research market update from Marcus & Millichap.

Unlike previous years when excessive construction drove vacancy increases, lagging demand has become the anchor on the market. The pace of store closures clearly has slowed, but too few retailers have emerged to open new locations in the vacant space that has amassed. With the vacancy rate nearing its highest level in 20 years, rents continue to fall as tenants exercise the upper hand in discussions with owners.

Rents have yet to settle at a new, lower market level and may not reach their low point until late next year. The upside of reduced rents, however, has been a sharp decline in construction, as many projects simply no longer pencil for developers. After deliveries averaged 5.5 million square feet of new space each year during the past decade, a fraction of that total will come online in 2010.

Although the slowdown in construction represents a positive trend in a market with frequent overbuilding spells, the lack of properties under construction will restrain sales of new single-tenant, net-leased assets. As in other markets around the country, single-tenant properties net-leased to top-rated corporate tenants generate intense bidding when listed. In fact, cap rates for nationally branded drugstores and fast-food properties have fallen about 50 basis points since early this year to around 7 percent, with ground leases commanding even lower first-year returns.

In the multi-tenant segment, buyers have intensified searches for suitable listings, but the ongoing reduction in rents continues to present challenges to arriving at valuations upon which owners and prospective buyers can agree. Current underwriting assumes additional increases in vacancy and further rent reductions, such that cap rates must vary from 10 percent to 11 percent to generate bids. Among specific properties, those with tenants that signed leases at the peak of the market
in 2006 and 2007 invariably face the prospect of re-leasing space at substantially lower rents when leases expire.

2010 Annual Retail Forecast

Employment: Government employment will decline over the second half due to the termination of census jobs and budget constraints at the state and local levels, while private
sector employers will hire conservatively. As a result, total employment will expand 0.8 percent in 2010, or by 13,700 jobs. Last year, 116,000 positions were cut.
Construction: Developers will complete 500,000 square feet of space this year, the lowest annual total in 30 years. In 2009, approximately 2.9 million square feet came online. Planned projects total 28 million square feet, although none has a scheduled start date.
Vacancy: The vacancy rate will increase 70 basis points this year to 12.6 percent, as store closures and a lack of new demand will result in negative net absorption of 721,000 square feet. Vacancy spiked 260 basis points last year and most recently surpassed 12 percent, a level last reached in 1991.
Rents: This year, asking rents will decrease 1.3 percent to $18.11 per square foot, following a 5.5 percent dip in 2009. Effective rents will slide 2.6 percent to $15.13 per square foot, compared with a 9.1 percent drop last year.

3rd Quarter Figures Upbeat for Retail and Market Sector

3Q Figures Upbeat For Office, Industrial & Retail Market Sectors

The Arizona economy has marked some improvement and is much better than the public perceives, according to the Third Quarter 2010 Economic Outlook released by the Forecasting Project at the University of Arizona.

However, the report also states that will it will take some time for many Arizonans to recognize the improvement in the state’s economy and to repair the damage done by the recession. Estimates are that it will be 2013 or early 2014 before all the damage that occurred during the recession is repaired. The long-term forecast is for nation-leading growth to return to Arizona.

There was also some positive news in the CB Richard Ellis Third Quarter 2010 Analysis of Metro Phoenix Office, Industrial and Retail Markets. Highlights included:

Office: After 12 consecutive quarterly increases, the office market vacancy rate remained unchanged from the second quarter, at 25.9 percent. While the full service average asking lease rate for office space has leveled off in 2010, it has fallen 12.5 percent in the past two years, from $25.44 per square foot in third quarter 2008 to $22.25 per square foot today.

Absorption for the year is 147,610 square feet, with gross activity of 4.3 million square feet. This compares with negative absorption of 897,916 square feet and gross activity of 2.9 million square feet at the same time last year. An increasing supply of office sublease space continues to impact the absorption of direct space. There was 2.2 million square feet of available sublease space at the end of the third quarter compared to 2 million square feet one year ago.

Industrial: Through the first three quarters of 2010, the Metro Phoenix industrial market had positive absorption of 2.6 million square feet. Leading the way was the Southwest submarket, with more than 3.4 million square feet of positive absorption year-to-date. The industrial market vacancy rate decreased for the second consecutive quarter, dropping from 16.4 percent at the end of the first quarter to 15.3 percent today. One year ago the vacancy rate was 15.8 percent.

The net direct average asking lease rate for existing industrial product remained relatively unchanged during the past three months, ending the third quarter at $0.54 per square foot. However, in the last year the rate has dropped 5.3 percent. While there is 619,800 square feet of industrial product under construction, it consists entirely of build-to-suit projects. No speculative developments broke ground in the third quarter. This trend is expected to continue due to the challenging financial market and the glut of space.

Retail: The retail market experienced positive absorption in the third quarter, posting 83,491 square feet. This was the first time in seven consecutive quarters that the metro area reported more retail space was gained than lost. Vacancy increased slightly in the third quarter, from 12.2 percent to 12.3 percent. In comparison, the retail vacancy rate one year ago was 10.9 percent.

The average net asking lease rate for existing retail centers has declined 9.4 percent since the end of 2009, dropping from $17.33 per square foot to $15.71 per square foot at the end of the third quarter. The large supply of available big box space continues to weigh heavily on the Phoenix area retail market. Currently there are 303 spaces greater than 10,000 square feet, totaling 8.2 million square feet. The majority, 34 percent, can be found in the Mesa/Chandler/Gilbert submarket, with 2.8 million square feet of space.

Construction at an All Time Low

National Construction Employment Near 14-Year Low

The number of people working in construction is approaching a 14-year low now that the industry lost 21,000 jobs in September, while construction unemployment is at a September high of 17.2 percent, according to an analysis of federal employment figures released today by the Associated General Contractors of America.

The construction industry continues to suffer from declining investments in construction and broad uncertainty about the future of many federal infrastructure programs and tax rates, association officials noted.

“It has taken less than four years to erase a decade’s worth of job gains as the industry suffers from declining private, state and local construction demand,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “No other sector of the economy has suffered as much for as long as construction.”

Simonson noted that the 5.6 million people working in construction today is barely higher than the 5.59 million people who were working in construction in August 1996. He added that construction employment continued to lag behind other sectors of the economy. For example, while total private employment rose by 593,000 during the past 12 months, the construction industry lost 210,000 jobs. Meanwhile, the industry’s unemployment rate is nearly double the unadjusted national rate of 9.2 percent.

Most of September’s construction job losses came from the nonresidential sector as demand for commercial facilities and infrastructure projects remains weak, Simonson noted. Residential construction lost 2,500 jobs last month while nonresidential construction lost 18,100 jobs. Nonresidential specialty trade contractors were the hardest hit, having lost 19,500 jobs in September, the economist added.

Association officials noted that construction spending figures released late last month show private, state and local construction spending continues to decline. And while federal spending has increased, most of those investments have come from temporary programs like the stimulus and military base realignment programs.

While these temporary federal programs have helped the industry, many contractors are reluctant to expand payrolls while long-term federal programs that fund highway, transit, water system and aviation related construction remain in limbo, association officials said. They added that most contractors don’t even know what their tax rates will be for next year.

“Construction firms aren’t going to start hiring again until they can predict how busy they’ll be,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Frankly it is hard for contractors to make any business decisions when they don’t know how much they’ll make or how much they’ll owe.”