Tag Archives: economic slowdown

construction industry

Construction Industry Loses 7,000 Jobs In March

The construction industry lost 7,000 jobs in March, inching the unemployment rate up to 17.2 percent from 17.1 percent in February, according to the April 6 Department of Labor employment report. Year over year, construction industry unemployment is down compared to the March 2011 rate of 20 percent. The construction industry added 55,000 jobs over the past 12 months.

The nonresidential construction sector lost 6,000 jobs for the month, but year over year has added 7,000 jobs, or 1.1 percent, bringing the total number of jobs to 659,400. Residential construction lost 5,000 jobs for the month and has added 3,000 jobs during the past 12 months, or 0.4 percent, to reach 569,000 jobs.

Nonresidential specialty trade contractors shed 5,000 jobs in March, while residential specialty trade contractors added 5,000 jobs and heavy and civil engineering construction employment saw a gain of 4,000 jobs. Year over year, nonresidential specialty trade contractors have lost 4,000 jobs, or 0.2 percent; residential specialty trade contractor employment grew by 29,000 jobs, or 2 percent; and heavy and civil engineering construction employment increased by 20,000 jobs, or 2.4 percent.

Across all industries, the nation added 120,000 jobs in March. The private sector expanded by 121,000 jobs and the public sector shrank by 1,000 jobs. On a yearly basis, the nation has added 1,899,000 jobs, or 1.5 percent. The national unemployment rate stood at 8.2 percent in March, down from 8.3 percent in February, with the labor force shrinking by 164,000 people.

“Today’s employment report was disappointing, particularly for the construction industry,” said Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “The first quarter of 2012 will be judged as a step backward for the industry as construction spending levels stagnated and employment momentum disappeared.

“A certain level of weakness was anticipated due to the economic slowdown during the spring and summer of last year that caused many projects to be put on hold and resulted in diminished construction momentum,” Basu said. “In addition, ABC’s Construction Backlog Indicator, a predictor of construction activity, dipped during last year’s fourth quarter, setting the stage for the declines in construction employment now being observed.

“This employment report differed from the prior three months because employment growth was disappointing for the broader economy as well,” Basu said. “The consensus coming into today’s release was the nation would have added approximately 200,000 jobs in March, which did not happen.

“Some attribute the disappointing March report to abnormally warm weather across the nation, which caused February’s employment to be artificially high. However, one month does not make a trend and other data remain upbeat, including consumer activity and overall economic momentum. Economists and others will be looking for signs of improvement in labor market dynamics in April,” Basu said.

SRP Study Reveals How Businesses Reacted, Adapted To Economy

SRP Study Reveals How Businesses Reacted, Adapted To Economy

The “2011 SRP Metro-Phoenix Business Study: New Strategies for Success” reveals how businesses have survived and adapted operations during the economic slowdown.

“The past several years have been economically challenging for families, businesses and every level of government. Everyone felt the pinch of our recent economic downturn,” said Mark Bonsall, Salt River Project (SRP) general manager and chief executive officer. “As a company doing business in Arizona for more than 100 years, SRP knows the vitality of our community is directly related to the success of our local businesses.”

SRP, Arizona State University and WestGroup Research conducted the study to determine how businesses have adapted during the economic slowdown.

Phoenix-area businesses were asked to name the top challenges faced in the past two or three years. Fifty-six percent cited the economy as their biggest challenge, followed by cash flow (14 percent) and finding/retaining customers (11 percent).

A similar study was done in spring 2007. The top challenges cited before the economic slowdown were cash flow (21 percent), finding/retaining employees (18 percent), finding/retaining customers (14 percent) and marketing (7 percent). Only 1 percent mentioned the economy.

Despite enduring a tumultuous four years, 50 percent of businesses anticipate their financial position will improve in the next 12 months; 12 percent expect their situation to become worse. In addition, 46 percent expect to expand within their next planning cycle, and another 46 percent plan to remain the same size.

In addition to partnering on this report, SRP also created the Business Resource Center (BRC) at srpbizresource.com. The BRC is a free, online, one-stop information center that offers important business information, resources and advice to help take businesses to the next level.

“SRP wants to be part of the solution that keeps the Valley moving forward,” Bonsall said. “We believe this study and our Business Resource Center are steps in the right direction. We view both as tools to move us closer to a stronger and more prosperous Phoenix economy.”

Arizona State Seal

A Quarter Century Of Wisdom Points To The Right Solution

In 1982, I was beginning my first term in Arizona’s House of Representatives. After years of spending increases, our state was suffering an economic slowdown. Recovery was just around the corner.

In 1984, Ronald Reagan was elected to his second term as president of the United States, the federal government announced that it would build an orbiting space station, and the Phoenix area was one year away from receiving its first deliveries of Central Arizona Project water.

In other words, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Yes, we are a different state today than we were a quarter century ago.

Our population has doubled from 3.06 million to 6.8 million.

Per capita income has risen 256 percent, from $13,866 in 1984 to $32,953 today.

The world may be suffering the symptoms of an under-the-weather economy, but citizens from high-tax and high-regulation states will continue to move to Arizona, just as they have for the past 25 years. They will come because of our freedom-loving attitudes, our incredible business and environmental climate, and a commitment to nurturing opportunity.

However, since we have ignored history over the past few years, we must re-live the lessons of previous cycles. Once again, after stumbling through several years of free-spending fostered by a previous administration, Arizona must bring spending back to reality.

This is why I offer a five-point plan to cure what ails us:

  • Cut spending as much as feasible.
  • Don’t create or expand programs.
  • Stop treating one-time windfalls as permanent revenue. Even the feds must stop printing money eventually, so don’t think cash will keep flowing out of Washington.
  • Modernize our tax structure. Let’s get spending under control by 2012. Then let’s renovate our tax system to foster well-paying, sustainable jobs.
  • We must be responsible. The previous administration spent too much, and we must pay the bills, even if it leads to temporary tax hikes that automatically expire in three-to-four years.

Some think our political climate has changed. To those people I say, the more things change, the more we need the wisdom of some of the best political minds from the 20th century: Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater. They advocated:

  • Keeping taxes reasonable.
  • Limiting government intrusion.
  • Encouraging opportunity.
  • Creating prosperity.

Back in 1984-85, for the first time in state history, Arizona officially became a Republican state. We tended to elect conservative Republicans for decades, but many rural and blue-collar Democrats re-registered and pushed my party over the top.

When I became secretary of state in 1998, I watched a national trend away from political affiliation, which made it look like GOP domination would erode. As of April 1, 2009, our 3.1 million registered voters were split into three semi-equal groups. About 36.8 percent are Republicans, 33.8 percent registered as Democrats and 28.5 percent are not affiliated with either party.

Voters may be disenchanted with both parties, but they still love freedom, want limited government intrusion in their lives, and place their faith in the wisdom of Reagan and Goldwater.

The evidence is clear that Arizonans remain as committed as ever to limited government. This is why, come 2010, I am confident that our state will continue to follow the path blazed by Reagan and Goldwater by trusting sustainable, conservative solutions that realistically and responsibly address Arizona’s financial crisis.