Photo Courtesy of Copyright@2DEFINE Architecture

New 632-Meter Shanghai Tower Will Be World's Second Tallest

The frame of Shanghai Tower, on deck to be the second-tallest building in the world after the 828-meter Burj Khalifa in Dubai, topped out recently.

The tower—developed by Shanghai Tower Construction & Development Co. and designed by architect Gensler, with Thornton-Tomasetti as structural designer—is slated for completion in 2014  and, when completed, will rank as China's tallest. Adding to Shanghai's already impressive skyline, the tower is flanked by the 432-m-tall Jin Mao building and the 492-m-tall World Financial Center.

Construction's UnemploymentRate Declines to Under 10%

The construction industry's unemployment rate continues to improve, dropping to 9.1% in July from June's 9.8%, but the industry also shed 6,000 jobs as losses in the non-residential sector outpaced residential-segment gains. The Bureau of Labor Statistics' latest monthly employment report, released on Aug. 2, also showed that construction's July jobless rate was down markedly from the July 2012 level of 12.3%. Last month's 9.1% was the industry's lowest monthly mark since August 2008, when it stood at 8.2%. The rates are not seasonally adjusted.

Iowa Eyes More Wind Power As DOE Notes Sector Growth

An additional 1,050 MW of wind-generation sites, worth an estimated $1.9 billion, will be built in Iowa under an Aug. 9 pact between energy firm MidAmerican Energy, Des Moines, and state regulators. Construction of the project, which will involve about 448 turbines in five counties, is set to begin in September and be completed by the end of 2015, says a MidAmerican spokeswoman. One of five planned projects will expand an existing farm; the other four are greenfield sites, she adds.

Technology firms Google and Facebook have expressed interest in the projects to support their plans for expanded data centers in Council Bluffs and Altoona, respectively. Wind power became the leading source of new U.S. electricity generation capacity in 2012 as costs hit near-record lows, says the U.S. Energy Dept. Wind energy accounted for 43% of all new electric additions and about $25 billion in investments. But sector growth is set to slow this year with expiration of the federal tax credit, and the industry's future remains unclear, says DOE.