Recent editions of Wind Energy SmartBrief include several items of interest to SC&RA members involved with the hauling, erection and maintenance of wind farms:
The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has reverted into negative territory for the last two months. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending. On May 21, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the April ABI score was 49.6, up slightly from a mark of 48.8 in March. This score reflects a decrease in design activity (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings).
Construction employment expanded in 220 metro areas, declined in 70 and was stagnant in 49 between April 2013 and April 2014, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released on May 27 by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). “Construction employment appears to be rebounding in many parts of the country,” said AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson. “Declines in federal spending likely depressed construction employment near Washington, while of the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy may be having an impact on construction employment in metro areas in New Jersey.”
The October to April trailer industry order season gained 25 percent over the 2012-2013 season according to figures released by ACT Research Co. (ACT) on May 23 . Most of the strength came from dry and reefer vans.
“April net orders of 26,390 rose 20 percent year over year,” said Frank Maly, Director – CV Transportation Analysis and Research at ACT. “Cancellation continued to be insignificant, pointing to firm orders in the backlog. And the backlog is up 30 percent from a year ago.”
Spring truck weight restrictions on state highways in the north-central and north frost zones of Minnesota will end May 30. Full summer overweight permits in the southeast, south and metro frost zones of the state began to be available on May 23 and in the central frost zone starting May 27.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) issued a proclamation on May 23, setting the vote on five constitutional amendments for the Aug. 5 ballot. Of particular interest to SC&RA members is House Joint Resolution No. 68, passed earlier this year by the General Assembly, which proposes amending the Missouri Constitution to enact an additional sales tax to fund infrastructure projects, including highways and roads.
April pier container volumes set a 6-year record, marking the busiest month at the Port of Charleston since May 2008, according to data released by the South Carolina Ports Authority on May 22. The increase in pier containers pushed fiscal year 2014 volumes up by 5.5 percent year-over-year. April’s pier container volume represented a 12.3 percent increase over April 2013 and a 21.7 percent increase over April 2012.
On May 27, SC&RA will begin accepting online registrations for the Crane & Rigging Workshop, Sept. 24-26, at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel, Dallas, Texas. The Association simultaneously will start accepting registrations from 2013 Workshop exhibiting companies for the Workshop's Exhibit Center on Sept. 25. Any of the 80 booths that remain open after June 9 will be made available to the public.
The SC&RA offices will be closed Monday, May 26, in observance of Memorial Day – a day of remembrance for those who have died in the nation’s service. In its 2014 Memorial Day Travel Forecast, AAA estimated 36.1 million people will travel 50 miles or more for a trip of some kind to celebrate the official start of summer.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has granted a month-long extension to those wishing to file comments on the agency’s proposal that could ultimately require electronic logging devices (ELDs). Comments are now due by June 26. The supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking would amend federal regulations to establish minimum performance standards for ELDs, require the devices for all drivers who are required to log their record-of-duty status (RODS), and take measures to ensure the devices are not used by carriers or others to harass drivers.