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Products Fair Fees Include an Annual Conference Registration

Only 20 of 90 booths are still available for the Products Fair at the SC&RA Annual Conference, April 2-6, Westin, Kierland, Scottsdale, Ariz. Always a highlight of the Annual Conference, the Products Fair will be the only official activity on Friday, April 5, 9 a.m.-noon. Booth fees include one complimentary registration to the Annual Conference. Click here to learn more and to reserve space on a first-come, first-served basis.

Deadline Nears for SC&R Foundation Scholarship, Grant Applications

The SC&R Foundation continues to accept applications for 2013-2014 Scholarships and Grants. Completed applications must be postmarked by January 31, and received by February 15.

December Construction Employment Increase Is Largest in Two Years

Construction employers added 30,000 jobs in December while the industry’s unemployment rate hit 13.5 percent, according to an analysis of new federal data released on January 4 by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). AGC officials noted that the monthly increase was the largest in nearly two years, driven primarily by increases in private sector demand for construction.

Classes 5-8 Preliminary Net Orders for December In Line with November

North American heavy duty Gross Vehicle Weight Classes 5-8 preliminary net orders for December represent an improvement from where orders were through most of 2012, according to a report released on January 3 by ACT Research. The final numbers, which will be released mid-January, will approach 14,200 units for medium duty Classes 5-7 vehicles and trucks and 21,300 for heavy duty Class 8. The preliminary net order numbers are typically accurate to within 5 percent of actual.

New Analysis Shows Debt Ceiling Approaching Quickly

An analysis released on July 7 by the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) confirmed that the federal government will be unable to meet all of its spending obligations as early as mid-February unless the debt ceiling is raised. “Our numbers show that we have less time to solve this problem than many realize,” said Steve Bell, Senior Director of the Economic Policy Project at BPC. “We estimate that Treasury will exhaust its borrowing authority and no longer have sufficient funds to meet its obligations in full and on time at some point between February 15 and March 1.

Fiscal Cliff Deal Preserves Wind Energy Tax Credits

As part of the American Taxpayer Relief Act signed by President Obama to avoid the “fiscal cliff,” Congress extended the wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC), and Investment Tax Credits for community and offshore projects. This will allow continued growth of the energy source that installed the most new electrical generating capacity in America last year, with factories or wind farms in all 50 states, noted the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

October Surface Trade with Canada and Mexico Totaled $85.3 Billion

Trade using surface transportation between the United States and its North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners, Canada and Mexico, was 7.9 percent higher in October 2012 than in October 2011, totaling $85.3 billion, according to a Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) report released on January 4. BTS reported that the October 2012 value of U.S. surface transportation trade with Canada and Mexico rose 38.9 percent from October 2009, shortly after the end of the recession.

NC Quick Pass and E-ZPass Function as One in 2013

Since January 3, drivers with an E-ZPass or North Carolina Quick Pass hardcase transponder have been able to travel in all E-ZPass states and North Carolina using their prepaid electronic toll collection account. “This is an exciting development for the people in 15 states and a monumental business agreement for the tolling industry,” said E-ZPass Group’s Executive Director PJ Wilkins. North Carolina is the first state to implement an agreement of this kind with E-ZPass. 

Newspapers Weigh in on Certification of Medical Examiners who Test Truckers

Local newspapers have begun covering health-testing regulations for truckers that are set to take effect on May 21, 2014. After that date, only certified medical examiners will be permitted to give physical examinations for commercial driver’s licenses. To gain certification, medical examiners will be required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to attend training classes and successfully pass a test assessing their competency to administer the examinations.

Webinar to Cover Workers’ Comp Experience Modification Rate Changes

SC&RA has scheduled a critical, time-sensitive webinar on January 24 at noon EST to educate members about 2013 changes in the Workers’ Compensation Experience Modification Rate. The adjusted rate, as recalculated by the National Council for Compensation Insurance, will affect how much employers will pay in workers’ compensation insurance this year. More importantly, it will change the Frequency and Severity Weighting in the calculation, which will stand to increase some and decrease other companies’ rating above or below 1.0.