Following up a Bureau of Labor Statistics employment report which highlighted the addition of 111,000 construction jobs in June, LIUNA (Laborers' International Union of North America) joined President Obama on Friday at the signing ceremony for a new jobs-creating Highway Bill.
"While the economy overall continues to struggle as today's jobs report shows, investment in the basics of our country – including through the Highway Bill – offers both the hope for robust recovery and for investment that will increase our nation's competitiveness and leave behind real assets for taxpayers and future generations," LIUNA General President Terry O'Sullivan says.
The nation's construction industry added 111,000 badly-needed jobs last month, with the percent of construction workers trying to find work falling to 12.8%, according to the latest report from BLS. During the recession, approximately 2 million construction jobs were lost.
"The Highway Bill is progress and a lifeline for construction workers, but it only gets us to the 10- or 20-yard line," O'Sullivan says. "It's time for a national conversation on how to get in the end-zone – to build an America that once again has transportation systems that are the envy of the world."
The $105 billion, 27-month Highway Bill will provide investment for roads, bridges and transit systems. O'Sullivan says, "It will be a fire-wall against further decay of our transportation infrastructure – as well as create or support at least 2 million jobs. But the problem is bigger. We need a long-term vision to plan for a generation, not just for a few years. For example, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers, the average bridge is 43 years old, dangerously close to the average lifespan of 50 years."