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Why is Construction Employment Still Lagging Pre-Covid Levels?

Construction employment in June remained below the pre-pandemic levels of February 2020 in 39 states, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America.

New York and Wyoming suffered the worst losses, while Utah and Idaho added the most construction jobs. New York, Vermont and Iowa had the biggest declines in June. Georgia and Kentucky were the top gainers.

AGC officials put the blame on supply chain shortages and rising material prices, which are undermining demand for new projects and impacting construction firms’ ability to hire workers.

“The construction industry is a long way from full recovery in most states, in spite of a hot homebuilding market in many areas,” said Ken Simonson, AGC chief economist. “Soaring materials costs, long production times for key items and delayed deliveries are causing owners to postpone projects.”

16 months into pandemic

From February 2020 to June 2021, New York shed the most construction jobs (54,300 jobs or 13.3%) followed by Texas (54,100 jobs, 6.9%) and California (36,500 jobs, 4%). Wyoming recorded the largest percentage loss (15.3%, 3,500 jobs), followed by Louisiana (15.1%, 20,700 jobs) and New York.

On the positive side, Utah added 7,000 jobs, (6.1%), followed by Idaho with 4,400 jobs (8%), South Dakota (1,400 jobs, 5.9%) and Rhode Island (1,200 jobs, 5.9%). Idaho claimed the largest percentage gain, followed by Utah, Rhode Island and South Dakota.

May to June 2021

From May to June of this year, construction employment decreased in 25 states, increased in 24 states and D.C., and held steady in Maine. The largest declines occurred in New York, which lost 6,900 construction jobs (1.9%), followed by Pennsylvania (4,100 jobs, 1.6%) and Texas (3,300 jobs, 1.3%). The steepest percentage declines since May occurred in Vermont (3.5%, 500 jobs), followed by New York, Alabama (1.9%, 1,700 jobs), and North Dakota (1.9%, 500 jobs).

Georgia added the most construction jobs between May and June (5,700 jobs, 2.9%), followed by Kentucky (2,700 jobs, 3.4%) and Florida (2,500 jobs, 0.4%). Kentucky had the largest percentage gain for the month, followed by Alaska (3.0%, 500 jobs) and Georgia.

Tariffs, logistics and unemployment

Association officials cautioned that construction employment is unlikely to grow in many parts of the country until supply chain challenges improve. They added that President Joe Biden could help by removing tariffs on key construction materials. The AGC also noted that ending the unemployment supplements would add to the pool of workers for manufacturers, shippers and construction firms to hire.

“Easing tariffs will help, but what the construction supply chain needs are workers to manufacture the products, ship them to contractors and build the projects the economy demands,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Unemployment supplements helped families survive the pandemic-related lockdowns, but they are undermining the post-pandemic recovery.”

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Add On When Needed: Panasonic 2-in-1 Toughbook G2 Built for the Future

Panasonic continues its year of Toughbook introductions, this time with an eye toward users who not only want the option of a keyboard but also future-proof technology.

A keyboard is only the first of the options on the G2 fully rugged 2-in-1 detachable tablet. There are several add-ons expansion packs or what Panasonic calls xPaks that give the unit functions such as a serial port, thermal camera, barcode reader and a quick-release SSD hard drive. Owners can add this functionality in three modular expansion areas whenever needed since the xPaks are user installed and removed.

The Panasonic Toughbook G2 can be operated solely in tablet form or be paired with a keyboard.
The Panasonic Toughbook G2 can be operated solely in tablet form or be paired with a keyboard.Panasonic“No other table has this modular expansion pack approach,” Anthony Mungiello, Toughbook senior product manager, tells Equipment World. “You can get a total of 36 combinations between the three expansion areas. This gives people flexibility, helps future proof the G2, and they can add any of these xPaks at any time.” Contractors can also share xPaks among several users.

The G2’s 10.1-inch display is available with Windows 10 Pro; the unit has an 18.5-hour battery life. It also has three programmable buttons to quickly access commonly used applications or shortcuts. Working in landscape mode, one of the programmable buttons is located on the right-hand side of the tablet, making it easy to use as a camera or scanner.

“If you have a barcode scanner, for example, you can program one of your buttons to immediately go to the scanner,” Mungiello says.

And all of this comes with the baked-in ruggedness Panasonic has spent the past 25 years developing in its Toughbooks. In part because of this legacy, the company is making the G2 backward compatible with docking stations on the Toughbook 20, which came out in 2015, and the Toughbook G1, which came out in 2013.

“We know there are thousands of devices out there that are mounted in work vehicles, and being able to reuse those docking stations is a huge cost savings,” says Alex Nollmann, Panasonic’s director of public sector.

The G2’s heat management should be of particular interest to contractors, Nollmann says. “It can easily be in direct sunlight on a hot day. The device handles extreme heat.” Panasonic’s use of thermal piping keeps the processor from overheating and does not impact the integrity of the unit, he says.

Contractors might also be attracted to the G2’s screen brightness – or lack thereof. “We’ve been known for years for having extremely bright screens, but it’s also becoming more important to have dim screens as crews work at night,” Nollmann says. “You don’t want a 1,000-nit screen affecting their night vision on the side of the road.”

The G2 can go down to 2 nits, which almost appears as a black screen except in a complete blackout environment. More important, it has a night vision mode that turns the screen a red hue, taking out the whites and blues, enabling users to look at the screen and then at the surrounding environment without losing night vision. Users can activate this feature manually or have it come on automatically as it senses ambient light.

Nollmann also says the G2’s speakers are four times louder than previous models, making it easier to hear on noisy construction sites.

With the 2-in-1 design, the G2 can be used as a tablet or laptop. It uses Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 and has 16 GB to 32 GB of memory. The 2.9-pound basic tablet starts at $2,999, with xPaks and keyboard sold separately. The keyboard adds another 2 pounds.

“Dual SIM (physical and eSIM) is actually innovative in the rugged space,” Mungiello says. Using eSIM, users can easily install SIMs on multiple units, and they don’t have to worry about the SIM card coming loose in a vibration-intense environment.

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Industry News Roundup: EquipmentShare Gains $230 Million in Funding

EquipmentShare says its new $230 million funding will help it launch its core T3 construction operating system and expand its suite of technology solutions.

“We are eager to leverage this milestone round to launch several initiatives, with the continued goal of empowering contractors and accelerating productivity in construction,” says Willy Schlacks, EquipmentShare president and co-founder.

The company says it will soon launch T3, a solution that digitizes and connects assets, people and materials. T3 will “give contractors real-time visibility into parts of the jobsite that are historically difficult to track and manage,” it says.

In addition, Columbia, Missouri-based EquipmentShare says it plans to significantly increase its footprint in the U.S. in 2021 and grow its total presence to more than 100 locations, including rental, retail and service. It now says it’s hiring 100 new employees a month. 

The funding round was led by Tiger Global Management, The Spruce House Partnership and RedBird Capital Partners. Addition participation came from Tru Arrow Partners and EquipmentShare’s existing investorsRomulus, Insight Partners and Anchorage Capital Group. 

tlas Copco adds Caisson Consultant
caisson consultants
Atlas Copco

Caisson Consultant has been named a dealer for Atlas Copco Power Technique.

Caisson will provide sales, service warranty and application knowledge for Atlas Copco’s DrillAir high-pressure air compressors.

Incorporated in 2004, Caisson provides foundation equipment in the Ontario, Canada region, focusing on foundation drilling and geotechnical market segments. Specializing in piling, anchor, tieback and  limited access machines, it offers technical support, rentals, sales, RPOs, tooling and wear parts. 

Trophy Tractor builds Burleson facility

Trophy Tractor is adding a 28,000-square-foot facility on 13 acres in Burleson, Texas. The new facility will have eight service bays in a climate-controlled shop area, a 5,000-square-foot office space and a parts storage building.

The company specializes in providing new, used and reconditioned haul trucks, loaders, dozers, scrapers, excavators, along with a variety of other earthmoving equipment. 


Hitachi hires customer care director

Hitachi Construction Machinery Loaders America has hired Marcelo Fazolin as its director of customer care.
In his new position, Fazolin will spearhead Hitachi’s After Sales Solution mission, which includes parts, support services, ConSite fleet management solution, global e-Service platform, remanufacturing and training.
Fazolin comes to Hitachi after global experience in automotive sales channels and supply chains.

Pitts Enterprises founder Andrew Pitts passes
andrew pitts
Andrew Pitts Jr.Pitts Enterprises

Andrew Pitts Jr., 90, founder and former CEO of Pitts Enterprises, died on July 16th.

Pitts built his first logging trailer in 1976 and went on to found Pitts Enterprises, which manufactures a variety of forestry trailers, hydraulic elevating loader carrier trailers, open and closed top chip vans and moving floor vans. The company continues as a family business under the leadership of Andrew’s son, Jeff Pitts, who has lead the company as CEO since 2002.

Iron Capital adds RPO option for used equipment

Iron Capital says it is making rental purchase options to its product offerings, designed to fill a gap between rental and purchase options.

The company says the RPO options give contractors the ability to rent with the option to buy that applies a portion of the rental payments towards purchase. Iron Capital says its approach is unique in the North American used equipment market.

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BESCOM Recruitment 2021 for Apprentice (Graduate/Technician) | 30-07-2021

BESCOM Recruitment 2021 for Apprentice (Graduate/Technician) with 400 post vacancies, last date to apply is 30-07-2021

The post BESCOM Recruitment 2021 for Apprentice (Graduate/Technician) | 30-07-2021 appeared first on ConstructionPlacements.

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JAX Bio-Guard Lubricants Protect Your Equipment and the Environment

The new line of Bio-Guard lubricants from JAX do what all lubricants do — protect equipment from friction and wear — but also protect the environment.

The complete line of Bio-Guard products meets the technical requirements established by the Environmental Protection Agency for biodegradability, toxicity and bioaccumulation.

In addition to states that have blanket rules on lubricants and the environment (like California), increasing numbers of industries, such as commercial marine, forestry, agriculture, hydroelectric power, construction and mining, are imposing their own rules.

JAX’s chemists and product development team focused on four key applications – wire rope, gearboxes, bearings and hydraulic systems. The products include:

JAX Bio-Guard Wire Rope Lube 00. Designed for rust and corrosion protection on steel wire rope and cables.JAX Bio-Guard Gear Oils. ISO 150 to 680. Designed for gearboxes used in outdoor environments.JAX Bio-Guard Hydraulic Fluids. ISO 32, 46, and 68. Synthetic, readily biodegradable lubricants designed to maximize hydraulic performance. JAX Bio-Guard Grease. NLGI 2 grease designed for areas where water resistance and load carrying properties are primary concerns.


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Drum Rotates Up to 180 Degrees on Merlo DBM 3500 Mini Mixer

Merlo has introduced its new DBM 3500 Mini Cement Mixer to the U.S. market.

Along with its compact stature, the mixer is maneuverable on tight jobsites, able to discharge concrete up to 330 degrees around the machine. The drum can rotate laterally 180 degrees, and the chute provides additional reach.

The mixer also has a tight turning radius, and the drum has a reduced incline angle for further agility.

It can produce 37.7 square feet of concrete in less than 15 minutes, the company says. The 1,321-gallon drum can deliver 4.6 cubic yards of concrete. A self-loading bucket can handle up to 25 cubic feet of aggregate at each load cycle. Hydraulics lift and rotate the bucket as needed, while the  door automatically opens to unload aggregate into the drum. The pump moves 66 gallons of water per minute into the mixing drum.

Merlo duplicated the in-cab controls outside the mixer at ground level. “From the ground, an operator can control engine acceleration, water pump activation, drum rotation, barrel lift, chute lift and emergency stop,” the company says.

Merlo DBM 3500 Mini cement mixer
The Merlo DBM 3500 Mini Cement Mixer can produce 37.7 square feet of concrete in less than 15 minutes, the company says.MerloThe ROP-certified, enclosed cab has double controls split between the front and rear. The front controls are for driving. The seat rotates 180 degrees to access the rear controls, which manage the mixing drum and self-loading bucket and also drive the vehicle. A lever reverses travel direction. Travel speed is up to 25 mph.

The mixer runs on a 100-horsepower Deutz diesel engine mounted on the side for increased ventilation and access.

Other features include four wheel drive with three steering modes, hydrostatic transmission, and portal axles for increased ground clearance of 16 inches. It is designed for any terrain, the company says.

Merlo DBM 3500 Mini Cement Mixer Ground Control
The Merlo DBM 3500 Mini Cement Mixer can also be operated at ground level.MerloThe water tank has a 246-gallon capacity. Max unloading height is 7 feet.

The DBM 3500 is 12.7 feet high, 7.7 feet wide and 17.9 feet long.

It is sold in the U.S. through importer Applied Machinery Sales.

Merlo DBM 3500 Mini Cement Mixer Aggregate
The hydraulic self-loading bucket on the Merlo DBM 3500 Mini Cement Mixer can hold up to 25 cubic feet of aggregate to load into the mixing drum.Merlo

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