Construction industry loses more jobs
The construction unemployment rate rose to 18.8% in November as the sector lost another 5,000 jobs since October, according to the Associated General Contractors of America, which just released an analysis of new federal employment data. The analysis indicates that the construction sector has been the hardest hit of any industry during the economic downturn, association officials said.
The industry’s 18.8% unemployment rate, not seasonally adjusted, was the highest of any industry and roughly double the overall unemployment rate. The construction industry has lost 2.1 million jobs since employment in the sector peaked in August 2006, according to the association. Since November 2009, the industry has lost 117,000 jobs, while the private sector added 1,088,000 jobs.
“The unemployment report shows construction still has not broken free of the recession that has gripped the industry since 2006,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Other than the stimulus and other temporary federal programs, it has been a pretty bleak four yours for the industry.”
The only construction segment to add jobs in the past years has been heavy and civil engineering construction, which has benefited from federal stimulus, military base realignment and Gulf Coast hurricane-prevention projects, Simonson observed. Meanwhile, residential construction has lost 79,000 jobs over the past 12 months, while nonresidential specialty trade contractors and nonresidential building — the other two segments in the nonresidential category — have lost 62,000 jobs.
Association officials cautioned that the stimulus and other temporary federal programs would begin winding down in 2011, most likely before private, state or local demand for construction picks up. They urged Congress and the Obama Administration to act on a series of long-delayed legislative bills for water, transportation and other infrastructure programs.
Obituary: William Cowling, Dixieline president
William Cowling Jr., the former president of Dixieline Lumber, died of Parkinson’s disease on Nov. 27. He was 81 years old.
Known to most people as simply “Cowling,” the retired lumberman began working at Dixie Lumber in San Diego while his father, William Cowling Sr., was one of the owners. After a merger and a name change, the Cowling family sold Dixieline Lumber to Weyerhaeuser in 1979. Fifteen years later, in 1994, the family regained control of the company.
In 2003, the 90-year-old lumberyard chain was sold to Lanoga Corp. By then it had grown to a company with 10 locations serving most of Southern California, including a truss and component plant, a lumber distribution facility and a lumber shipping facility on the Columbia River in Oregon. Annual revenues were $230 million.
Cowling stayed on as a consultant for several years at Dixieline, which later became part of ProBuild. During his retirement, Cowling became active in law enforcement, becoming a reserve officer for the San Diego Police Department as well as the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.
Cowling is survived by his wife Ovie, of 47 years, seven children, and 12 grandchildren.
NAWLA releases attendance figures for Chicago event
The North American Wholesale Lumber Association (NAWLA) saw attendance increase 3.5% at its NAWLA Traders Market in Chicago.
Overall attendance at the Nov. 3-5 event held in Chicago was 1,148, made up of almost equal parts producers and wholesalers, according to the group. (Click here for the complete attendee list.) Attendees represented nine countries.