Vermont gained the second most construction-related jobs in November, but still ranks only 45th in the nation over the last year. Construction employment expanded in 20 states between October and November, while the list of states with year-over-year construction job gains grew to 13 states plus the District of Columbia, the Associated General Contractors of America reported in an analysis of state employment data released today by the Labor Department. The new figures continue a year-long pattern of mixed results in construction employment as overall demand remains weak, association officials noted.‘It is encouraging that the number of states adding jobs year-over-year was higher in November than at any time since February 2008,’ said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. ‘However, the data also make clear that these gains are as spotty as they are tenuous.’Simonson noted, for example, that California had the largest monthly increase in construction employment’adding 7,800 jobs’but also the largest 12-month drop’36,900 jobs, or 6.4 percent. New Jersey and New York had the next-highest number of construction job gains in November with 4,500. New Jersey also led the nation in monthly percentage gains (3.7 percent), followed by Vermont (3.4 percent, 400 jobs) and Maine (2.5 percent, 600 jobs).The largest year-over-year percentage gains occurred in Oklahoma (9.2 percent, 6,100 jobs), New Hampshire (6.7 percent, 1,500 jobs) and Kansas (4.7 percent, 2,700 jobs). Texas had the largest increase in the number of construction employees (13,400 jobs, 2.4 percent).Washington had the largest number of monthly job losses (4,200 jobs), followed by Utah (2,400 jobs) and North Carolina (2,300). In November, employment shrank in 29 states and held steady in D.C. and Alaska.On a year-over-year basis, the largest losses were in California (36,900 jobs, -6.4 percent), Nevada (16,600 jobs, -22.0 percent’the steepest percentage decline) and Florida (12,900 jobs, -3.6 percent). Other large year-over-year percentage declines occurred in Idaho (-15.5 percent, 5,100 jobs) and Montana (-11.2 percent, 2,700 jobs). In all, 36 states lost construction jobs over the past 12 months, while construction employment was unchanged in Massachusetts.Association officials cautioned that construction employment figures were likely to fluctuate and possibly drop over the coming months as many stimulus-funded projects begin to wind down and private-sector demand remains weak. They added that newly passed legislation that prevented steep tax increases, including for many small construction firms, will help boost overall economic activity and could drive new demand for construction later next year.‘The tax bill is a step in the right direction because it will revitalize the economy and help boost private-sector construction demand,’ said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. ‘But Congress still needs to act on long-delayed infrastructure bills and provide businesses with relief from an increasingly costly regulatory burden.View construction employment figures by state and by rank.
Emil “HeatoN” Christensen and Tommy “Potti” Ingemarsson have announced a joint venture to launch the Swedish eSports League. The inaugural season will feature Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and will award 750,000 SEK (£63,845) in total prize money.HeatoN and Potti have started the league with the goal of creating ‘the same kind of framework for esports, as for other youth sports activities’. The other focus of the league is to create more local teams and reduce the void in skill between pro and local teams. The plan of the league is to achieve this with their seasonal league structure and prize pool to support the teams’ development.Potti was one of the founders of Ninjas in Pyjamas (NiP) back in 2000, the team started with humble beginnings at a small LAN event in Lidköping, Sweden. Along with HeatoN, the two played a major role in NiP’s Counter-Strike teams for a number of years and being dominant in the LAN scene. HeatoN still remains with NiP, he reformed the organisation in 2012, and he remains with them to this day as a manager. HeatoN has been busy in esports recently, after joining CUBE as an advisor and joining Swedish Esports bar, Kappa bar.Tommy “Potti” IngemarssonSpeaking about the move, Tommy “Potti” Ingmarsson said: “My vision is that the Swedish eSports League should represent what the Swedish Hockey League represents to hockey and the Swedish Soccer League represents to football. The lack of organization, local teams and local leagues leaves millions of talents and gaming enthusiasts all over the world gaming only at home, in solitude, instead of having leaders, a context and a proper structure for their gaming. In the long term, teams should be able to make a living on eSports, just as many as there is today making a living on playing professional football.”The first season of the league will kick off this autumn. After this autumn, the league plans to have two seasons per year, with the main league and four regional subdivisions: South, North, East and West. Trials will begin this August for each region, with the top team from each region earning a spot in the main league, while the remaining teams will compete in subdivisions. The league will also be the flagship league for the esportal automated tournament platform.Esports Insider says: Grassroots esports is important, Sweden has been one of the best producers of esports stars across the world and in a variety of games making it an unofficial hub of esports in Europe. This league, with its backing from two major names in esports, certainly has the foundation to be a strong league. Providing it can attract the number of teams required and host a successful first season, the sky is the limit for the new league.