Toolbox Tuesday: Inequality rising

Why are middle class construction jobs so important to the economy? This graphic maps wealth and income distribution from 1962 to 2010. The picture it paints is stark. During this time period, the richest have become richer and the poorest have become poorer.

Worth noting:

  • The richest 20 percent claim 46 percent of American income in 1962, and almost 60 percent of income in 2010.  Their share of non-home wealth (not including home equity) went from 86.1 percent to 95.4 percent over the same span.
  • After widening in the 1970s, the inequality of net worth (the red line is the gini coefficient measure of inequality) was pretty flat through 2007, but spike sharply between 2007 and 2010.
Construction is one of the few remaining US industries that provide pathways to middle class careers. Still, it is an industry with two faces. It contains workers from all walks of life and can can exploit workers in dangerous and temporary dead-end jobs, or it can provide high quality, lifelong career opportunities. Given the trends of growing income inequality, will these middle class careers last?

Graphic by Colin Gordon, The Telltale Chart and Iowa Policy Project

Every Tuesday the Construction Academy posts a graphic, chart or other resource to demystify the construction industry. To receive updates, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

Do you have graphics or resources you’d like us to feature? Let us know!

Toolbox Tuesday: U.S. Housing Starts Rise

Last week several sources released reports about the increase in housing market numbers. Housing is one of the first signs that the construction market overall is coming back, and with that the expectation is that commercial, industrial and other sectors will also grow.

According to the US Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, October 2012 saw 894,000 construction starts. This is 41.9% higher than October of last year.

Read more on the new housing market construction numbers:

Will this boost the economy?  A big part of the answer to this question is the quality of jobs that return with this boost in economic activity. Are these low-skill, short-term, and temporary jobs, or are they long-term careers? The construction industry is cyclical, with extreme booms and busts. To make sure the next downcycle does not look like the last, it’s important to learn from the mistakes of the past economic downturn and build the industry back stronger.

See Huffington Post Live Interview with Uyen Le, Partnerships Director of the California Construction Academy.

Graphic by the California Construction Academy

Every Tuesday the Construction Academy posts a graphic, chart or other resource to demystify the construction industry. To receive updates, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

Do you have graphics or resources you’d like us to feature? Let us know!

Toolbox Tuesday: A Greener Future for Business

McGraw Hill just released a study showing that green building is accelerating globally despite the economic downturn.

Top findings from the study include:

  • Green building has become a long-term business opportunity with 51% percent of study firms planning more than 60 % of their work to be green by 2015, up from 28 percent of firms in 2012
  • The largest opportunity areas for green building globally are in new commercial construction and renovation of existing buildings

Why are firms taking on more green construction work?

  • Overwhelmingly, firms report that their top reasons to do green work are client demand (35 percent) and market demand (33 percent)—two key business drivers of strategic planning.
  • The next top reasons were also oriented toward the corporate bottom line—lower operating costs (30 percent) and branding advantage (30 percent).
These findings show that the market around energy efficient construction is shifting. Rather than contractors increasing these projects because of personal motivations, market demand for green work is on the rise.  Construction is increasingly going green because it is the right move for business.

Read more about the study.

Find out how to take advantage of this surge in green. Download Beyond Green Jobs.

Graphic by the California Construction Academy
Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building Trades Council

Every Tuesday the Construction Academy posts a graphic, chart or other resource to demystify the construction industry. To receive updates, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

Do you have graphics or resources you’d like us to feature? Let us know!

7 Things to Be Thankful For at Work

With Thanksgiving on Thursday, here are some reasons to be thankful at work. It may sometimes be easy to take these workplace rights for granted, but they are the result of years of work by community and labor leaders.

Let’s give thanks for the right to:

  1. The weekend!
    Overtime pay and the 40-hour work week, from the National Labor Relations Act (1938).
  2. Minimum wage
    National Labor Relations Act (1938).
  3. A work-free childhood
    National Labor Relations Act (1938).
  4. Rest and meal breaks
    National Labor Relations Act (1938).
  5. Maternity leave
    Family and Medical Leave Act (1993).
  6. A safe workplace
    Occupational Health and Safety Act (1970).
  7. Stand up for these rights without being fired
    National Labor Relations Act (1938).

There’s definitely much more to do to ensure that all people have access to high quality jobs. Let the fight continue!

Graphic courtesy of the California Construction Academy and the UCLA Labor Center. Photo courtesy of Dawn Jones, Oregon Tradeswomen.

Every Tuesday the Construction Academy posts a graphic, chart or other resource to demystify the construction industry. To receive updates, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

Do you have graphics or resources you’d like us to feature? Let us know!

Toolbox Tuesday: Prop 39 Passes!

Every Tuesday the Construction Academy posts a graphic, chart or other resource to demystify the construction industry.  To receive updates, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

Prop 39 Means More Green Construction

Last week, California voters decided overwhelmingly (60.3%) to pass Proposition 39. This proposition closes a California tax loophole that gave a break to corporations that have their operations in multiple states. In doing so, it raises $1 billion a year, half of which will go to renovate buildings and make them save more energy. Read more about Prop 39.

The California Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates that this can create nearly 40,000 jobs throughout the state. This means more construction jobs and growth for California’s clean energy economy.

How did your county vote?

Check out the interactive map of election results! Maps for other propositions are also up.

Map by: California Secretary of State

Do you have graphics or resources you’d like us to feature?  Let us know!

Toolbox Tuesday: What’s driving California’s clean energy economy?

Every Tuesday the Construction Academy posts a graphic, chart or other resource to demystify the construction industry.  To receive updates, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

What’s driving California’s clean energy economy?

This year was the first election in over 20 years that neither of the presidential candidates mentioned climate change in the debate. So what is happening in California’s clean energy and energy efficiency economy anyway?

This new report from Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) gives some numbers and great charts about current trends in energy efficiency. The chart above shows manufacturing and installation jobs leading the seven growth sectors of California’s clean and efficient economy. These are important sectors for construction jobs.

Check out Invest to Grow, the new report by Environmental Defense Fund.

Chart by: Environmental Defense Fund.

Do you have graphics or resources you’d like us to feature?  Let us know!

Toolbox Tuesday: How much unemployment is in your district?

Every Tuesday the Construction Academy posts a graphic, chart or other resource to demystify the construction industry.  To receive updates, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

How much unemployment is in your district?

With elections just three weeks away, it’s important to know– how many people are employed in your district? What kinds of jobs do they have? What education level do they have? The Reinvestment Fund just released its MyDistrict Data tool, which allows you to instantly view workforce and employment data in your congressional district.

Look up your district on the MyDistrict Data tool.

Tool by: The Reinvestment Fund

Do you have graphics or resources you’d like us to feature?  Let us know!

Toolbox Tuesday: How Does Your State Rank in Energy Efficiency?

Every Tuesday the Construction Academy posts a graphic, chart or other resource to demystify some aspect of construction.  To receive updates, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

How Does Your State Rank in Energy Efficiency?

The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy just posted its updated energy efficiency scorecard. According to their research, states continue to move strongly in 2012 to advance energy efficiency initiatives regardless of which political party is in control of state legislatures and governors’ offices.

The scorecard shows that the top 10 energy efficiency states are Massachusetts (in its second year atop the rankings), California, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Washington, Maryland, and Minnesota.

The 10 states most in need of improvement (starting with last) are Mississippi, North Dakota, West Virginia, Wyoming, South Dakota, Alaska, Kansas, Missouri, Louisiana, and Nebraska.

Check out the energy efficiency ranking scorecard.

Graphic by: American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy

Do you have graphics or resources you’d like us to feature?  Let us know!

Toolbox Tuesday: Top 16 Construction Site Hazards

Every Tuesday the Construction Academy posts a graphic, chart or other resource to demystify some aspect of construction.  To receive updates, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

Top 16 Construction Site Hazards

Construction has the highest fatality rate of any other occupation in the United States. This graphic clearly shows some of the top hazards.  These hazards include unsafe working at height, unsafe electrical connections, and issues with machinery such as forklifts and cranes.

This graphic comes from a Gulf News, which is based Abu Dhabi, but the information applicable to many construction sites. The California Department of Public Health also provides fact sheets and resources for common construction accidents. Thanks to our partners at the UCLA Labor Occupational Safety and Health (LOSH) program for the resources.

Download/View graphic.

Graphic by: Gulf News, Source: Department of Municipal Affairs, Abu Dhabi

Do you have graphics or resources you’d like us to feature?  Let us know!

Toolbox Tuesday: Your Path to a Construction Career

Every Tuesday the Construction Academy posts a graphic, chart or other resource to demystify some aspect of construction.  To receive updates, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

Your Path to a Construction Career

So you want to enter construction, but are not sure how?  This graphic, by the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE) Construction Careers project, breaks down the pathway to getting into an apprenticeship program.

Apprenticeships are rigorous training programs that combine in-class and on-the-job training for workers in a specific trade. Apprenticeships help train new workers, retrain current workers, and allow the industry to adapt to emerging technologies. Learn more about apprenticeships.

Download/View 8.5″x11″ version of graphic.

Graphic by: Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE)

Do you have graphics or resources you’d like us to feature?  Let us know!