PVPC Issues Top 10 ‘Resolves’ for 2013
SPRINGFIELD — The Pioneer Valley Planning Commission has released its top 10 ‘resolves’ for 2014. In condensed form, these include commitments to: (1) work in concert with a broad array of partnering organizations to support, guide, and complete a regionwide economic-growth study targeted at 500 small and mid-sized Pioneer Valley firms demonstrating significant growth and job-expansion potential; (2) participate in and contribute to a statewide transportation-funding advocacy campaign and strive to ensure that the priority transportation needs and projects of the Pioneer Valley are addressed in an effective, timely, and equitable manner; (3) organize and undertake a regional effort designed to coordinate as well as provide technical assistance to potential
casino host and surrounding communities that are located within the Pioneer Valley region, working with the Mass. Gaming Commission, affected municipalities, casino developers, and other interested parties; (4) organize and launch the PVPC’s scheduled 10-year review and overhaul of the Pioneer Valley Plan for Progress; (5) continue with support provided by the Commonwealth’s District Local Technical Assistance Program to pursue
a variety of municipal shared-service initiatives and planning projects based on a regionwide solicitation process; (6) assist and support the Mass. Department of Transportation and the federal Railroad Administration as these agencies jointly launch the long-awaited ‘Inland Route’ rail-passenger-service feasibility analysis, and help to focus this study on the Boston-Worcester-Springfield east-west rail corridor and its potential to connect these cities and their surrounding areas with New York City and Montreal; (7) prepare, refine, and issue the draft and final versions of seven distinct element plans (e.g., food security, housing, climate change, etc.) which have been developed by the PVPC staff in tandem with work groups that were convened to provide advice, expertise, and feedback; (8) initiate, with 10 project partners, a two-year, $1.9 million Centers for Disease Control-funded Community Transformation Project aimed at improving the health of Springfield residents adversely affected by chronic diseases through healthy food and nutrition programs, physical activities, public-health interventions and infrastructure improvement projects, among others; (9) continue efforts undertaken over the past two years to assist PVPC communities to recover from the June 2011 tornado and pursue measures that could strengthen the level of community resilience to better address and respond to future natural and man-made disasters; and (10) work with state lawmakers and Massachusetts legislators in Washington to shape and advance policy and legislative initiatives at both the federal and state level that support and benefit
the Pioneer Valley and its member communities and residents. The complete list of resolves is available at www.pvpc.org/resources/2013%20resolves.pdf.
Construction Industry Loses Jobs in November
WASHINGTON, D.C. — National construction-industry employment fell by 20,000 jobs in November, pushing the sector’s unemployment rate to 12.2%, up from 11.4% the previous month, according to the Dec. 7 employment report by the U.S. Department of Labor. Year over year, construction employment is down by 6,000 jobs, or 0.1%. The non-residential building construction sector lost 4,300 jobs in November. The residential building construction sector lost 6,800 jobs for the month and has lost 15,700 jobs, or 2.8%, since November 2011. Non-residential specialty trade contractors lost 7,400 jobs for the month and have lost 16,000 jobs, or 0.8%, year over year. In contrast, residential specialty trade contractors added 3,200 jobs in November and have added 20,700 jobs, or 1.4%, compared to the same time last year. Heavy and civil-engineering construction sector employment decreased by 3,800 jobs in November, but has increased by 5,900 jobs, or 0.7%, during the past 12 months. Across all industries, the nation added 146,000 jobs as the private sector expanded by 147,000 jobs and the public sector shrunk by 1,000 jobs. The national unemployment rate decreased to 7.7% in November from 7.9% in October. “If there was any question that the construction industry continues to struggle in this economy, [this] Labor Department employment report provided the answer,” said Associated Builders and Contractors Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “In November, the economy essentially wiped out the previous gains that had been registered in the construction industry.” The other major sector to lose jobs in November was manufacturing. The fact that construction and manufacturing both lost jobs is not coincidental, Basu said, as many economic decision makers have adopted a wait-and-see attitude due to the nation’s fiscal cliff and other sources of uncertainty, including geopolitical uncertainty. “While many businesses maintain their standard daily operations, and some even add jobs in the process, larger decisions and investments are put on hold. These decisions often revolve around major investments in plants and equipment. When these types of expenditures are postponed, related industries like manufacturing and construction suffer.”