WORKPLACE: Construction work mostly is on upswing
Anyone looking for construction work probably should start looking locally, or at least quasi-locally, according to the Associated General Contractors of America.
The trade group this week reported most of the country’s metropolitan areas saw job opportunities increase for construction workers in February when compared to the same month in 2013. Jobs were up in 175 of 339 markets, down in 106 and stagnant in the other 58.
And two of the healthiest markets are Orange County and Los Angeles. Between the two, 16,800 jobs were added in the last 12 months, making them the second- and third-best in the country, behind Houston.
The Inland Empire is in the mix in a limited way. According to the state Employment Development Department, construction employment is up 4.5 percent in the last year, with 3,000 more people in Riverside and San Bernardino counties getting paid for construction work in February than there were 12 months ago. Specialty trades — electricians, plumbers et al. — did the best.
There are enough building permits circulating through the Inland area to make some believe that a more serious building boom is coming. But for now the effort is putting up the more expensive properties, explaining why the construction job growth is reported at 12 percent in Orange County and 7 percent in Los Angeles.
LONG-TERM JOBLESS GET A BOOST
There is a persistent opinion that someone who has been out of work for a half-year or longer is not equipped, one way or the other, to come back to work and get a job done.
But a study released last week suggests that might not be the case. Evolv, a San Francisco-based consulting firm that advises corporations on how best to manage hourly workers, studied some 90 workers and found no difference in performance between those coming off extended unemployment periods and those who were not.
A portion of the sample, roughly 14 percent of it, was people who had not worked in at least five years. Evolv looked at criteria that included the speed in which the job got done, evaluations by supervisors and customer satisfaction levels. Long-term jobless scored well across the board.
According to U.S. Department of Labor data for March, some 3.7 million Americans have not worked in 27 weeks or longer.
SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY STRUCK DOWN
An oil company has agreed to change its social media policy for employees after a judge found it infringed on their rights.
Valero Services agreed to the National Labor Relations Board ruling after an unfair labor practice charge was filed by the United Steelworkers of America. The board found that the complaint had merit because a company can’t restrict employees’ conversation about the terms and conditions surrounding work.
This is not the first time social media has been evaluated in the labor law arena. What it generally comes down to is if three workers can grouse about work conditions at a bar after hours, then can they do it on Facebook as well?
Judges have mostly been answering yes to this question.
FACTORY ACTIVITY SHOULD GET BETTER
The second quarter is expected to be more active for factory owners in California but it’s not looking like through-the-roof activity, a report predicts.
The statewide Purchasing Managers Index released this week by economists at Chapman University came in at 58.5 in the second quarter, up from 56.2 in the first three months of 2014. The two key areas, production and new orders, are both expected to be solid between now and June.
However, the segment of this survey that measures how many workers the factories might hire is expected to increase at a slightly slower pace in the quarter. Manufacturing jobs actually declined nationally in March, and factory job growth in Inland Southern California has been very marginal lately. It’s been something of a laggard category.
The best industries are expected are expected to be in the manufacture of wood products, high-tech goods and electronics, electrical equipment and aerospace parts, among other items.
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