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Construction employers add 16,000 jobs in September

Construction employers added 16,000 jobs and the sector’s unemployment rate fell to 7 percent, the lowest rate for September in years, according to an analysis released on Oct. 3 by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).  

“While we are eager to see even more construction employment gains, there is no denying the fact that the industry has been in recovery mode for much of the past three years,” said AGC CEO Stephen E. Sandherr. “But the industry won’t be able to keep filling positions if there aren’t enough qualified workers available to fill them.”

Bill tying taxes to highest-paid employee’s pay fails in California

Legislation (S.B. 1372) that would have tied California’s corporate tax rate for public corporations to the amount a company pays its highest-paid employee has failed to pass the state senate, according to the Sept. 19 issue of the State Laws Newsletter. Like a similar bill that failed last year, the bill did not gain the two-thirds majority required for it to advance. The bill would have raised the top corporate rate from 8.84 percent to as much as 13 percent if the ratio of median to highest employee pay exceeded 400 to 1.  

KC regional OSHA office works to curtail struck-by vehicle fatalities

In the past five years, 15 percent of all workplace fatalities investigated by the Kansas City Regional Office of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have involved vehicle accidents that struck employees in the workplace. Struck-by injuries and fatalities are caused by conventional vehicles, forklifts, semitrucks and other moving industrial equipment, such as cranes and yard trucks.

New poll shows public recognizes trucking’s safety commitment

A new national poll released on Oct. 6 found that the American public believes professional truck drivers are among the safest drivers on the road. The poll, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies between Sept. 20-24, surveyed 800 registered voters on their attitudes about politics, the trucking industry and the state of infrastructure.

Classes 5-8 demand stays healthy in September

Demand for commercial vehicles remained healthy in September as 43,300 total North American (NA) Classes 5-8 orders were booked, up 21 percent from a year ago and basically unchanged since August. Over the past twelve months, NA Classes 5-8 net orders have totaled 540,000 units. That cumulative order volume represents the strongest 12-month period of NA Classes 5-8 order placement since the twelve months ending November 2005.

SC&RA looks for member feedback for motto

As part of SC&RA’s rebranding process now underway, the Association is considering replacing its current motto: “Our Members Move & Lift the World.” Members can assist in this effort by participating in a short survey that asks two questions:

OSHA extends compliance date for crane operator certification requirements

On Sept. 25, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a final rule extending the deadline for crane operator certification requirements in the Cranes and Derricks in Construction final rule published Aug. 9, 2010 by three years to Nov. 10, 2017. The rule also extends by three years the employer’s responsibility to ensure that crane operators are competent to operate a crane safely. The final rule becomes effective Nov. 9, 2014.

Trucking industry’s operational costs rising again

The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) released the findings of its 2014 update to An Analysis of the Operational Costs of Trucking on Sept. 24. The research, which identifies trucking costs from 2008 through 2013 derived directly from fleets’ financial and operational data, provides motor carriers with a useful benchmarking tool and government agencies with real world data for future infrastructure improvement analyses.

California to require paid sick leave

Legislation (A.B. 1522) signed by California Governor Jerry Brown (D) on Sept. 10 will impose new paid sick leave requirements on the state’s employers. The law, which applies to almost all employers, regardless of size, requires payment of at least one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked once an employee works 30 days. In general, employers must allow accrued paid sick leave to roll over to the next year.  The new law goes into effect on July 1, 2015. The nation’s first and only other statewide law requiring paid sick leave passed three years ago in Connecticut.

U.S.-NAFTA freight flows top $100 billion for fifth straight month

Freight between the U.S. and its North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners totaled $101.1 billion in July 2014 as all five major transportation modes—air, vessel, pipeline, rail, and trucks—carried more U.S.-NAFTA freight than in July 2013, according to a report released on Sept. 10 by the U.S. Department of Transportation.  This is the fifth consecutive month with U.S.-NAFTA freight flows exceeding $100 billion.