Homeowner Guide to Finding a Qualified Tile Installer Now Available from the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation

The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF), which provides education and installer certification for professionals working in the ceramic tile and stone industry, has published a thorough online guide to finding tile installers specifically geared to homeowners.

“Finding a qualified tile installer can be challenging for homeowners who want someone with the experience and knowledge of how to install tile correctly, without taking shortcuts,” said Scott Carothers, director of training and certification for CTEF.  “They deserve an installation that looks beautiful and performs flawlessly long after that installer is gone. Hiring someone with the proper skill level to do it right the first time is critical to the ongoing use of tile products. That’s why we’ve put together this in-depth guide which focuses on the importance and value of using qualified labor.”

Qualified Labor for Tile Installation

Qualified labor refers to having the most qualified professional perform the specified scope of work rather than basing the decision on the lowest price. The lowest price almost always fails to provide a quality installation complete with unmet consumer expectations.

The Tile Council of North America (TCNA) Handbook committee strongly recommends using installers who have demonstrated their commitment to their craft and taken the time to stay current with the latest materials and methods.  Because tile is a permanent finish, the lowest bid should not be the driving factor, but rather who is the most qualified to perform the scope of the work specified.

The Handbook further defines qualified labor as being provided by the following non-profit organizations and programs:

  • The Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT),
  • The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF),
  • The International Masonry Institute (IMI) Contractor College Program,
  • Journeyman Tile Layer Apprenticeship Program,
  • The Marble Institute of America (MIA) Accreditation for Natural Stone Tile Installation Contractors,
  • The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) Five Star Contractors Program,
  • The Tile Contractors’ Association of America (TCAA) Trowel of Excellence Program.

From a technical perspective, qualified labor means having successfully demonstrated a tile installer’s skills that meet tile industry standards and best practices. That is what the Certified Tile Installer (CTI) program does. The CTI designation identifies the professional installer who has reached a level of proficiency to independently and consistently produce a sound tile installation that displays good workmanship. It is the only third-party assessment of tile experience and knowledge.

Certified Tile Installers routinely demonstrate the knowledge, skill, experience, time management abilities and other traits needed to produce high-quality, long-lasting, successful installations using tile industry standards and methods along with time-tested proven best practices which are in place in the United States.

An In-depth Resource Available in Two Formats

The CTEF Homeowner Guide to Finding a Qualified Tile Installer is available online in two formats:

  • A 31-page pdf document that can be downloaded and read
  • An in-depth web page that can easily be read and/or scanned regardless of device whenever it’s needed.

All visuals in the guide represent actual Certified Tile Installer (CTI) installations.

The Certified Tile Installer Program

The CTEF Certified Tile Installer (CTI) program is the only third-party assessment of installer skill and knowledge which is recognized by the tile industry. It offers homeowners peace-of-mind that their tile installer has the right skills to complete a successful tile installation.

The CTI designation identifies the professional installer who has reached a level of proficiency to independently and consistently produce a sound tile installation that displays good workmanship. Certification is the validation of the skills and knowledge of the men and women who presently are installing tile successfully in the United States.

To qualify for the CTI Program, installers must have at least two years of experience as the lead installer setting ceramic tile on a full-time basis. This means having full responsibility for substrate prep, layout, coordinating with other trades along with properly installing underlayment, tile, grout and sealant materials.

The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) which sponsors the CTI program is supported by all segments of the ceramic tile industry. CTEF is headquartered in Pendleton, South Carolina, near Clemson University and near the offices of the Tile Council of North America (TCNA).

To access the guide, please visit https://www.ceramictilefoundation.org/homeowners-guide-to-hiring-qualified-tile-installer.

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About the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation

The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) provides training education and installer certification for professionals working in the ceramic tile and stone industry. Certification programs include the CTEF Certified Tile Installer (CTI) program which is the only third-party assessment of installer skill and knowledge to be recognized by the tile industry, and the Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT). For more information, visit https://www.ceramictilefoundation.org.

Follow CTEF on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ctilef, on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CeramicTileEducationFoundation/, and on Google+: https://plus.google.com/+CeramictilefoundationOrg

Knauf and USG Agree to Transaction at $44 Per Share in Cash

Provides Knauf with Lasting Presence in North American Wallboard and Ceilings;
Enhances USG’s Position Worldwide

USG’s Headquarters to Remain in Chicago

IPHOFEN, Germany & CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Gebr. Knauf KG (“Knauf”) and USG Corporation (NYSE:USG) (“USG”) today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement pursuant to which Knauf will acquire all of the outstanding shares of USG in a transaction valued at approximately $7.0 billion. Under the terms of the agreement, USG shareholders will receive $44.00 per share, which consists of $43.50 per share in cash payable upon closing of the transaction and a $0.50 per share special dividend that would be paid following shareholder approval of the transaction. The price represents a premium of 31% to USG’s unaffected closing price of $33.51 and a 36% premium to the $32.36 average closing price for the preceding 12-month period, both as of March 23, 2018, and a multiple of approximately 11.6x USG’s adjusted EBITDA for the 12 months ended March 31, 2018. The transaction was unanimously approved by USG’s Board of Directors. Berkshire Hathaway has agreed to vote its shares in favor of the transaction. As of June 11, 2018, Berkshire Hathaway and its subsidiaries owns approximately 31% of the issued and outstanding shares of USG.

The combined company results in a global building materials industry leader that will maximize Knauf and USG’s highly complementary businesses, products and global footprint to better meet the needs of both companies’ end-market customers. Following the close of the transaction, USG will continue to be managed locally in the United States, and Knauf intends to maintain USG’s existing corporate headquarters in Chicago as well as its facilities in North America.

Alexander Knauf, General Partner of Knauf, said, “We are excited to enter into an agreement to acquire USG. As a long-term USG shareholder, we greatly admire USG’s strong brands, leading market positions in North American wallboard and ceilings and highly talented employee base. We look forward to building on USG’s strong presence in North America.”

“As a family-owned company with a long-term focused business outlook, we believe Knauf is the ideal partner for the business as we intend to make significant investments in USG’s operations and its people,” added Manfred Grundke, General Partner of Knauf. “Our long-term investments will benefit all of USG’s stakeholders, including employees, customers and suppliers.”

Jennifer Scanlon, president and chief executive officer of USG, said, “Our Board has worked diligently to evaluate all strategic options to maximize value for our shareholders, and we are pleased to have reached this agreement which provides our shareholders with significant and certain cash value. We believe this transaction will create new opportunities for both companies’ customers and will benefit USG’s employees who will be part of a truly global building products company. Alexander, Manfred and their team have made clear their high regard for our team, and we are confident that Knauf will help to ensure the long-term success of USG’s operations, brands and employees.”

The transaction is expected to close in early 2019, subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals and approval by USG shareholders.

The transaction is not subject to any financing conditions. The transaction will be financed from existing cash and committed debt financing.

Morgan Stanley Bank AG is serving as the exclusive financial advisor to Knauf, and Baker McKenzie LLP, Shearman & Sterling LLP and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer are acting as legal counsel to Knauf. J.P. Morgan Securities LLC and Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC are serving as financial advisors to USG, and Jones Day is acting as legal counsel to USG.

NTCA Announces the Addition of ACT Language to AVITRU MasterSpec® for Tiling

The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), the world’s largest tile contractor association, announced exciting news regarding changes to the language used in AVITRU (formerly ARCOM) MasterSpec®.

MasterSpec® is a product of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and is the ultimate resource for producing specifications. It is widely used throughout the building design professions. It provides generic specifications that can be customized for particular projects, along with additional guidance on each section. The generic specification language is enormously influential in the construction industry because it represents a “default” position for the architect/designer—that language becomes part of the project documents.

The NTCA is pleased to announce that following the 2013 introduction of Installer Qualifications Language in the Tiling sections of MasterSpec®, effective June 1, 2018, MasterSpec® made amendments to include language on the Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT).

“We were honored to participate in this effort”, stated Bart Bettiga, Executive Director of the NTCA. “Thanks to the leadership of the International Masonry Institute (IMI), and in particular the efforts of Scott Conwell, our persistence paid off. This was yet another driving force in our continued efforts to have qualified labor specified to install tile.”

The addition to the sections listed below is a short but significant sentence addressing quality assurance in the installation of tile, a provision tagged as optional for the specifier to include as a project requirement.

  • Section 093013 – Ceramic Tiling
  • Section 093023 – Glass Tiling
  • Section 093033 – Stone Tiling
  • Section 093500 – Chemical-Resistant Tiling

“Installer employs at least one installer for Project that has completed the Advanced Certification for Tile Installers (ACT) certification for installation of [mud floors] [mud walls] [membranes] [shower receptors] [gauged porcelain tile/gauged porcelain tile panels/slabs] [large format tile].  www.tilecertifications.com

The intent of The Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT) program is to provide a level of consumer confidence for tile installation procedures that exceed ANSI standards and TCNA guidelines for floor and wall.  ACT- certified installers represent the pinnacle of performance in the tile trade and maintain a level of excellence superior to non-ACT certified installers.

“The introduction of the ACT Certification language in MasterSpec® signifies the design industry’s focus on qualified labor”, commented Scott Conwell, Director of Industry Development & Technical Service for the International Masonry Institute.  “This is a victory for the tile industry. The requirement for qualified labor, and specifically for ACT-certified installers, will effectively eliminate unqualified contractors from bidding tile projects that carry this requirement, and will direct more work to signatory tile contractors.”

Bettiga concluded, “The new language in MasterSpec® will call for ACT Skills to be specified which we hope manufacturers, distributors and contractors will put an emphasis on as well.  Our contractors need to embrace the certification and training and the manufacturers and suppliers need to support it.”

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NTCA is a non-profit trade association serving every segment of the industry, spearheading education for the professional installation of ceramic tile, natural stone and allied products.  For more information, please contact NTCA executive director Bart Bettiga at [email protected], via telephone at (601) 939-2071, or visit www.tile-assn.com.

 

NTCA Announces Winners of the 2018 Five Star Contractor Project of the Year

The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), the world’s largest tile contractor association announced the winners of its sixth annual NTCA Five Star Contractor Project of the Year Awards at Coverings 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia.

NTCA’s Five Star Contractor Awards were presented for both Commercial and Residential Tile Installations. Many submissions were received and judged via the following criteria: Scope (size of project), Complexity (challenges), Technical Soundness (resolution of challenges) and Design & Presentation (overall appearance, layout and artistic value). 

This year’s judges included: 

  • Kent Klaser of Ceramic Tile and Stone Consultants, Inc., San Diego, CA
  • Gregory Mowat of Forensic Tile Consultants, San Diego, CA
  • Richard P. Goldberg of Professional Consultants International, LLC, Avon, CT

Sponsored by Daltile, NTCA Five Star Contractor Grand Prize Award winners received a custom plaque and were awarded two round-trip airfare tickets and a two-nights hotel stay in Atlanta for the Coverings Show.

GRAND PRIZE – COMMERCIAL
By Christian Brothers Flooring & Interiors, Lakeside, Calif.

The Mesa Commons installation in Irvine, CA resulted in a striking visual appearance, design and layout, and the complex environmental challenges overcome during construction are those a NTCA Five Star Contractor could solve easily with its specialized training. To bring this spec to life, Christian Brothers had to overcome constraints caused by weather conditions up to 100 degrees and soaring exterior heights.  The project was also exemplary in the use of porcelain tile to integrate interior and exterior design with common palette of colors, textures and features.

GRAND PRIZE RESIDENTIAL
by Visalia Ceramic Tile, Visalia, Calif.

Workmanship and artistic qualities brought the Hoffman Residence in Fresno, CA to life. A challenging mixture of both natural stone and ceramic presented the opportunity for Visalia to showcase its Five Star Contractor skills. This residential project showcased new product and installation technologies, as well as the unique capability of tile assemblies to integrate other underlying building systems such as radiant heat and building envelope waterproofing.

 

GRAND PRIZE
COMMERCIAL ELITE
By David Allen Company

David Allen Company of Raleigh, NC was the recipient of the Five Star Grand Prize Award for Commercial Elite Project of the Year (over $1 million). Nearly 80,000 square feet of marble and tile were meticulously installed in the new Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel in Charlotte, NC. Of the many complexities which presented themselves working in a metropolitan area, the narrow doorways offered a unique opportunity for this contractor to showcase its innovative thinking. The team built custom narrow crates and stocked all of the materials required for each guest room into a single crate; saving time and labor on the job.

A trusted Five Star Contractor was preferred and required to partner with the General Contractor to address these many challenges, because the technical challenges associated with this project would need the involvement of an industry-leading trained expert.

NTCA Five Star Contractor Residential and Commercial Project of the Year Achievement of Excellence Awards were also presented. These included:

Residential

  • Floorology for Nature-Made Bathroom
  • W. Sanders Tile & Stone Contracting for Classic Inspiration with Modern Luxury for Her Bathroom Remodel

Commercial

  • David Allen Company for Chancery of Morocco
  • J&R Tile for the Hotel Valencia Riverwalk
  • Artcraft Granite, Marble & Tile Co., for Arizona State University Memorial Union

Commercial Elite:

  • ProFast Commercial Flooring for Sagamore Hotel
  • California Tile Installers for Apple Campus 2 Gateway Tunnel

 “We would like to thank our contest judges and sponsor for their support and of course, all of the Five Star Contractor Members who submitted incredible projects.” stated Bart Bettiga, Executive Director of the NTCA. “Each of these winning installations, as well as the other submitted projects, clearly demonstrates the value of engaging an NTCA Five Star Contractor in such complex arenas. Job site issues such as a confined urban site, mixed product media, material delivery and staging restrictions, new technologies, creative coordination with other trades, and solving problems quickly are exemplary traits of our Five Star Contractors.”

Call for Entries for the 2019 Five Star Contractor Awards will begin January 15, 2019.

Artaic Welcomes New Design Team Member

Alexandra Thayer Joins as Residential Design Consultant

Artaic, designer and fabricator of architecturally compelling mosaics, is excited to welcome Alexandra Thayer as its new Residential Design Consultant. Joining Artaic’s Boston design studio, Thayer will consult and assist on the design and creation of the company’s residential mosaic projects.
Thayer brings three years of communications and interior design experience to Artaic, with a strong background both personally and professionally in the residential market. Her combined focus on the development of creative design solutions and technical knowledge of interiors will allow her to seamlessly fit Artaic’s stunning mosaics into projects being slated for renovation or those that are new construction.
“Alexandra’s pulse on both the design industry and her experience in communications make her an asset to our growing team,” says Ted Acworth, Founder of Artaic. “We look forward to integrating her insights and expertise into our rapidly expanding residential design business.”
At Artaic, Thayer will be working hand-in-hand with homeowners, as well as residential interior designers and architects. Thayer will also work alongside the company’s lead mosaic designer to produce renderings of designs utilizing the brand’s proprietary Tylist™ software. She will play a dynamic role in supporting the company’s ongoing expansion into the residential market, facilitating and managing projects, while also also forging relationships with the local design community in New England, as well as across the U.S.
“I’m excited to join such a talented and passionate team,” says Thayer. “Artaic’s company mission—to make mosaics more accessible to all who appreciate the craft—is inspiring and motivating. It’s a privilege to be able to use my skills as an interior designer to help bring this artform into the homes of families who will cherish the installations for years to come.”
To learn more about Artaic, please visit www.artaic.com.

Crossville Announces Shelby Ferriter as Common Thread for the Cure Scarf Design Contest Winner

Scarves In Production Now, Proceeds from Sales to Support Common Thread for the Cure

Crossville, Tennessee – Crossville Inc. has announced Shelby Ferriter as creator of the winning design for the company’s biennial Common Thread for the Cure Scarf Design Contest. Ferriter’s scarf concept, one of five designs that made it to the final round of online voting, garnered the most votes to earn the honored recognition. Her original pattern is being used to produce scarves that will be made available for purchase later this year, with proceeds going to fund Helping Hands grants through Common Thread for the Cure Foundation.

Ferriter is a recent graduate of the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Science in Interior Architecture and will soon begin her career at Looney Ricks Kiss, an architecture and interior design firm in Memphis, Tennessee. In addition to seeing her design produced on this year’s scarf, she will receive a Crossville prize pack valued at $200, and a $3,500 tax deductible donation to Common Thread for the Cure foundation will be made in her name.

In describing the inspiration behind her scarf design, Ferriter explains that she focused on empowering individuals battling breast cancer. Each element in her original pattern supports the idea of empowerment.

“The mountains are not only part of Crossville’s logo, but also a symbol of the climb that individuals with breast cancer are going to face. With each step, with each day, with each dollar raised, we get closer to the top of the mountain and closer to finding a cure,” Ferriter shares. “The mountains are wrapped in a pink ribbon, which is an international symbol for breast cancer awareness. My hope is that when those battling cancer wear this scarf they are reminded of the strength they hold and are encouraged to keep fighting, everyday, because slowly but surely, we will climb to a cure.”

“We’re excited for Shelby and for the chance to see her winning design come to life on this year’s scarves,” says Lindsey Waldrep, Crossville’s vice president of marketing. “As she launches her professional career in interior design, we hope she shares the message of Common Thread for the Cure with her colleagues and leads the next generation of designers to join in supporting this worthwhile cause.”

In addition to the biennial scarf contest and annual programs to raise awareness during October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Crossville contributes a portion of the proceeds from the sale of select glass mosaic collections to support Common Thread for the Cure’s Helping Hands grants. For more information, visit crossvilleinc.com.

USG CORPORATION SEEKS TO GROW ITS LEADERSHIP IN POURED FLOORING BY FURTHER BOLSTERING ITS SALES FORCE

USG Corporation announced that it has reached an agreement with Alcorp Marketing through which Alcorp employees will join USG as full-time USG sales representatives as of July 1, 2018.

USG and Alcorp have worked as strategic partners since the release of Levelrock, and together they have grown the business into a leader in the performance flooring market. The decision to bring Alcorp employees to USG full-time underscores USG’s commitment to the Performance Flooring market and its belief in the future potential of the business. USG fully expects that all of the employees currently with Alcorp will transition seamlessly to USG and continue to support our customers.

Now Trending: Notable Looks from Tile of Spain Manufacturers at Coverings 2018

This year, tens of thousands of attendees from every facet of the design community happened upon the Spain Pavilion at Coverings 2018, where the term eye candy took on a whole new meaning.

Tile of Spain, the international brand representing 125 ceramic tile manufacturers belonging to the Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturer’s Association (ASCER), exhibited a wide variety of new product innovations and trends from 85 Spanish tile manufacturers. Architects, designers and contractors alike emerged from Coverings equipped with a fresh take on what’s new in ceramics. As in years past, new tile trends emerged while others maintain their position in the arena.
Notable trends by Tile of Spain manufactures include:
Geometric Shapes. From hexagons to herringbone, geometric shapes are still going strong. Fading, by Harmony, is a comprehensive 20x20cm collection with interplay between overlapping patterns and finishes.
Intriguing geometric patterns awaken the senses with Oset’s Andorra Collection. This stone-inspired fish scale pattern design is frost resistant and ideal for both indoor and outdoor use.
Mosaics are still a highly sought after format. The Allure Collection by Onix is a prime example of how combining sophisticated palettes with refined finishes creates design perfection.
One of the more prominent trends on the heels of Coverings is marble. Museum’snew Santana Collection exhibits a strong veined pattern on a restful background that lends surfaces a bold personality. Similarly, Inalco’s Azalai Collection emulates fine marble whose powerful intensity exudes elegance.
Natural looks are in abundance. Fanal’s Fusta series mimics the look of pressed wood chips; bringing a raw and natural look to floors and walls. The polished glazed porcelain is available in a 45x118cm format.
Maintaining its position in the arena is the wood look. Fine examples of trending wood looks can be seen in the Ceiba Collection from Cicogres as well as the Sonoma Collection from Pamesa. The beauty of wood reflected in ceramic tiles has a timeless prevalence.
The D’Anticatto Collection by Natucer brings a modern twist to old world charm. The warmth and comfort of each piece adds value to the highest standards of quality and its distinguished, enduring aesthetic. The rustic and slightly aged look gives depth and character to any space.
Finally, the Resort Collection by Vives solidifies that the cement look is here to stay. A perfect combination of industrial and refined, cement tiles have evolved to create more sophisticated visuals in both indoor and outdoor settings.
For press information and high-resolution images visit: http://bit.ly/TOSCoverings18
The 2018 Spanish Pavilion wass organized and sponsored by ASCER, the Professional Association of Ceramic Tile Manufacturers from Spain, and ICEX Spain Trade and Investment. For more information, contact [email protected] or visit tileofspainusa.com.
Connect with Tile of Spain on Facebook, Google+ and Instagram at TileofSpainUSA; and on Twitter and Pinterest at TileofSpain.

ARLEY TO HOST 16TH ANNUAL GOLF CLASSIC AND TILE & STONE EXPO

Arley Wholesale, Inc., the family-owned, third generation wholesale supplier of ceramic tile, natural stone, glass mosaics and sundry materials, is once again primed to host its 16th Annual Golf Classic and Tile & Stone Expo on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 at the Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel in Scranton, Pennsylvania. This will conclude the annual three day celebration, which includes the highly popular Arley Golf Classic on Monday, June 11th.

“Our event is really the only show of its type on the East Coast,” stated Arley’s President, Scott Levy. “Its main focus is designed around the needs of the retailer. We have over 30 major suppliers in our exhibit hall all three days, offering attendees a personal opportunity to meet with each of them firsthand. This way, they can see the actual displays and samples they will be able to sell from, talk to the factory representatives on a personal level and discuss real-time solutions while getting excited about all the new products.”

This event will entertain and educate over 250 guests. Arley will be bringing in not only new and innovative products, but will focus on existing value-added products and marketing opportunities they offer.  “We want to be their partner in business, helping them to grow and profit. We even offer website creation for all of our retail partners who are competing against the big box stores.” Levy commented. “Buyers are young and digitally connected. If you are not online, you are not going to get these people into your showroom. Our customers need to stay relevant in the digital age. Our website program offers a ‘click and tile’ program, which lets one design room scenes with a desired Arley product, and customize bathrooms, kitchens, living rooms… and, commercial office spaces, by combining products and thus, achieving a realistic room design.”

Arley will be discussing its private labeling program, Qualis Ceramica, which protects their retail partners against price competition from internet retailers.  They will also show how their B2B solution allows customers to see real time inventory and place orders directly with Arley. Arley representatives will demonstrate how the Arley App is constantly updated and can offer innovative selling solutions to help close sales more quickly and more profitably.  

Levy concluded, “Every year, the Arley event grows… just as our company grows. We are bringing in new manufacturers, and we’ve expanded our warehouses to accommodate intensive inventory. We can successfully provide for the commercial markets as well as for the residential sector. We invite our customers and prospects to attend on June 12th and see the “Arley Advantage” for themselves.

Family-owned for three generations, Arley Wholesale remains the tile and stone supplier of choice by providing exceptional customer service, selection and stability to its customers. Arley Wholesale, Inc. 700 North South Road, Scranton, PA 18504. Call: 800.233.4107. www.arleywholesale.com

Construction employment rises in most states through April; reports on starts diverge 

Seasonally adjusted construction employment rose in 38 states and the District of Columbia year-over-year (y/y) from April 2017 to April 2018, declined in 11 states and was unchanged in Montana, an AGC analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data released on Friday showed. The largest percentage gains again were in West Virginia (12%, 3,500 jobs) and Nevada (9.8%, 8,200), followed by Arizona (8.2%, 11,700), Utah (8.1%, 7,700) and Idaho (7.9%, 3,500). As in March, the most jobs were added in California (59,500, 7.4%), Texas (40,600, 5.7%) and Florida (34,900, 7.0%). The steepest percentage losses again occurred in North Dakota (-17%, -4,900), followed by South Dakota (-3.3%, -800), Iowa (-3.2%, -2,500 jobs) and Nebraska (-2.1%, -1,100). North Dakota lost the most construction jobs, followed by Iowa, Missouri (-1,500, -1.2%), South Carolina (-1,400, -1.4%) and Nebraska. For the month, employment rose in 29 states, fell in 19, and was flat in Mississippi, Montana and D.C. Texas was the only state to set a new record for construction employment. (AGC’s rankings are based on seasonally adjusted data, which in D.C, Nebraska, South Dakota and four other states is available only for construction, mining and logging combined.)

Two firms that track construction starts reported divergent results for April last week. The value of new construction starts in April tumbled 13% at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, reversing an 11% jump in March, Dodge Data & Analytics reported on Thursday. “Nonbuilding construction (public works and electric utilities/gas plants) plunged 22% after its 74% hike in March that featured the start of the $3.5 billion Mountain Valley Pipeline expansion in West Virginia and Virginia, as well as several large highway projects. Nonresidential building retreated 12% due to a slower pace by its institutional and manufacturing segments. Residential building dropped 9% with reduced activity for both single-family and multifamily housing. During the first four months of 2018, total [year-to-date] construction starts on an unadjusted basis were…down 7% from the same period of 2017 (which included very strong amounts for airport terminals and natural gas pipelines).” Residential building starts increased 4% year-to-date, nonresidential building starts plunged 18%, and nonbuilding starts fell 10%. On a 12-month moving total basis, total construction starts for the 12 months ending April 2018 matched the dollar amount that was reported for the 12 months ending April 2017.” ConstructConnect reported on Tuesday that year-to-date starts in January-April 2018 combined were down 15% from the same months of 2017, with residential building starts down 15% (single-family, +4%; multifamily -42%); nonresidential building starts down 27% (commercial, -33%; institutional, -13%; and industrial (manufacturing), -60%); and heavy engineering (civil) starts up 9%. The 12-month average through April 2018 was flat (residential, +4%; nonresidential building, -9%; civil, +13%).

Housing starts in April decreased 3.7% at a seasonally adjusted annual rate from the March rate and 13% from the April 2017 rate, the Census Bureau reported on Wednesday. Single-family starts inched up 0.1% for the month and 7.2% y/y. Multifamily starts (in buildings with five or more units), which are often volatile, slid 13% for the month, following a 15% leap in March, and jumped 19% y/y. Starts increased 9.1% year-to-date (8.3% for single-family and 10% for multifamily). Building permits, a fairly reliable indicator of near-term starts, declined 1.8% for the month but rose 7.7% y/y. Single-family permits gained 0.9% and 7.9%, respectively. Multifamily permits fell 7.4% for the month but increased 6.4% y/y. Permits increased 8.8% year-to-date (single-family, 8.6%; multifamily, 8.1%).

Inflation-adjusted gross domestic product (real GDP) increased in 47 states and D.C. in the fourth quarter of 2017, decreased in North and South Dakota and was flat in New York, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported on May 4. “Mining and construction were the leading contributors to the increase in real GDP in Texas, the fastest-growing state.” Construction contributed 0.77 percentage points of the 5.2% increase in Texas’s state GDP. “Construction increased 8.4% nationally and contributed to growth in 49 states and [D.C.]. In addition to Texas, this industry also made a notable contribution to the increase in real GDP in Florida” (0.59 percentage points of a 3.7% growth in state GDP). Nationally, construction contributed 0.35 points out of GDP growth of 2.7%. The largest construction contributions were in Colorado (0.88 points of 3.2% growth in state GDP) and West Virginia (0.81 points of 1.0% growth in state GDP). Construction shrank only in North Dakota (-0.33 points out of a 1.3% decline in state GDP).

BLS issued a report on characteristics of the foreign-born workforce in 2017 on Thursday. Foreign-born workers were more likely than native-born workers to be employed in construction and extraction occupations (9.3% of foreign-born workers vs. 4.4% of native-born workers). The employment disparity was especially great for men: 15.6% of foreign-born men vs. 8.2% of native-born men were employed in construction and extraction occupations.

The Census Bureau sent letters on May 1 with instructions for online response to the Economic Census (Census of Construction for construction firms). Companies who receive the census are required by law to respond. Due date is June 12.

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