Lower Unemployment Masks Number of Workers Leaving
Construction's unemployment rate in March rose slightly, to 17.2%, from February's 17.1%, as the industry lost an estimated 7,000 jobs last month. But the rate was better than March 2011's mark of 20%. The Bureau of Labor Statistics' latest monthly status report on the employment picture, released on April 6, showed that jobs lost in the buildings-construction sector outweighed gains in the heavy-civil and residential specialty trades.
Former CEO of Concrete-Beam Producer Guilty of DBE Fraud
The former CEO of a Pennsylvania concrete-beam maker has been convicted on multiple counts of fraud and money laundering in what the U.S. Dept. of Transportation says is the largest reported disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) fraud in the agency's 45-year history. A jury in U.S. District Court in Harrisburg on April 5 found Joseph W. Nagle guilty on 26 of the 30 charges in a federal indictment. Nagle was president, CEO and part owner of Cressona-based Schuylkill Products Inc. and its subsidiary until 2009, when SPI was sold. Nagle's attorney, Michael Schwartz, filed a motion on April 6 laying out grounds for a possible acquittal or a new trial. The Justice Dept. said Nagle took part in a long-running conspiracy to defraud Pennsylvania transportation agencies by using a Connecticut firm as a front to gain subcontracts designated for DBEs. Justice said the alleged scheme extended from 1993 to 2008 and involved more than $136 million in federal-aid contracts.
Unions Have Yet To Name Interim Successor for Ayers
As of ENR press time on April 10, no interim successor had been named for Mark H. Ayers, president of the AFL-CIO's Building and Construction Trades Dept. (BCTD), who died suddenly on April 8 in Washington, D.C. A department spokesman confirmed the death of Ayers, who was in the role since 2007, but did not identify the cause or circumstances. According to an industry group official with ties to BCTD, he suffered a massive heart attack that was fatal. Union officials also did not release details on a permanent or interim successor but say the department's governing board of presidents will make those selections. BCTD officials did not say how soon either would occur. Ayers, previously director of construction and maintenance for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Peoria, Ill., was the first union executive other than a general president to hold the building trades' top job. A 39-year IBEW veteran, he also was National Maintenance Agreements Policy Committee chairman.