Vermont construction employment gains back some jobs after big losses

first_imgVermont 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.last_img read more

United ‘respect’ Fabregas choice

first_img But speaking in a press conference in Malaysia, the midfielder said: “Triumphing in Barcelona is what I have been hoping for all my life, it’s been my dream since I was a child. “I am very happy at Barcelona and I haven’t spoken to any other club in the last two years.” Fabregas also defended not making a statement on his future in the midst of speculation about United’s interest. “I’ve been relaxed about it the whole time, I didn’t have to clarify anything because the only thing I was thinking about was staying at Barca,” he said. “I haven’t deceived anyone or hidden anything, I told the club’s press department that I would speak when it was my turn to speak to the press.” United responded on Wednesday afternoon when a spokesman said: “We appreciate Cesc is a contracted player at Barcelona and completely respect everything Cesc has said today.” Fabregas returned to his boyhood club from Arsenal in 2011 and helped Barcelona win last season’s league title as well as the previous year’s Spanish cup. He insisted there was never any truth in the speculation about him wanting a return to the Premier League. David Moyes’ side had two bids for the former Arsenal man rejected by Barcelona earlier this summer, while Nou Camp sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta declared at the start of the week that United had given up on trying to sign the Spain international. Fabregas ruled out a move away from Barcelona while at the Confederations Cup in June but kept silent after United made their interest in him official, prompting speculation that he was in favour of a transfer. Manchester United have confirmed they “respect” Cesc Fabregas’ claim that he wants to remain at Barcelona. “Stories have been invented,” he said. “I don’t know why speculation grew even after Tito (Vilanova, former Barcelona coach), Zubizarreta, Tata (Gerardo Martino, new Barca coach) and (Barcelona vice-president Josep) Bartomeu all said they wanted me to stay. “I was never given any sign from the club to make me think they didn’t want me, I have always felt wanted here. I spoke to Bartomeu, the president (Sandro Rosell) in person and Tata also told me he wanted me to stay and there’s been no problem.” Fabregas also denied that he had requested a new contract from the Catalan club and promised to try to improve his performances for Barcelona next season. “What I have to do is do everything better because I’m at the biggest and most demanding club in the world,” he said. Press Associationlast_img read more

Foreign students find funding college difficult

first_imgEvery day for nearly a month, Javed Shaikh, now a graduate student in biomedical engineering, waited in line at his local branch of the Punjab National Bank in India. While others queued to cash paychecks or buy home insurance, Shaikh returned to the bank each day in hopes of obtaining a student loan.Shaikh had finished his undergraduate degree in India and gained admission to USC in spring 2010, but a barrier stood between him and his education: the onerous process of applying for a commercial bank loan.“There was a financing problem,” Shaikh said. “Getting a loan, you have to spend days and stay there for the banks and go through the formalities, [like] lots of policies and long documents.”Released this month, the annual “Open Doors” report from the Institute of International Education once again named USC the leading university in international student enrollment, but getting to USC isn’t always an easy task for international students, as USC meets 0 percent of international financial need.In the 2010-11 academic year, 63 percent of international students studying in the United States were self- or family-funded, according to Open Doors data. Though 23 percent received full or nearly full support from U.S. universities in the form of doctoral studentships or other merit-based scholarships, foreign funding sources outweighed domestic ones almost three to one.When a prospective domestic student visits the USC Financial Aid website, he or she is directed to a bevy of resources including scholarships, loans, need-based grants and federal work-study. International students find their options much more restricted: Merit scholarships, limited work and private financing comprise the smorgasbord.For Shaikh, relying on the local bank for a loan, which falls under the category of private financing, was the only option, and this meant delaying the start of his graduate education.The days at the bank turned into a month. Many days, his father came in and waited with him, and together they met with managers who would point out missing requirements on a lengthy checklist of legal forms. Finally, Shaikh had to defer his admission by a semester because a property mortgage paper needed for collateral would not go through.Shaikh said he did not approach USC’s Office of Admissions, Financial Aid Office, Office of International Services or Office of Globalization as he tried to navigate his funding obstacle course. But even if he had, he likely would not have found much help.Part of the reason the school provides limited information on finances for international students is that international students must show proof of financial support before admission, according to Tom McWhorter, dean of financial aid at USC.A federal law stipulates international applicants must submit a bank or sponsor letter showing they have sufficient funds to cover tuition and living expenses for the first nine months of study. Students studying under the J-1 or F-1 temporary non-immigrant student visa do not qualify for any need-based financial aid at USC.Anthony Bailey, associate provost of global initiatives, said the USC Office of Global Initiatives supports recruiting initiatives abroad but the focus is mostly on admissions questions, not financial questions. Students who need financial help are directed to the Office of Admission and then rerouted to the Financial Aid Office.Patrick Moore, assistant dean of loans at the Financial Aid Office, summarized the university’s response to loan questions from international applicants: “We tell them to call banks.”McWhorter also said the only role the Financial Aid Office plays in the international student loan process is to certify valid student loans from domestic lenders.Nirat Patel, a graduate student studying green technologies, said that, for international students, U.S. financial aid is “a complicated process for someone who doesn’t have a relationship [with the United States].”Patel has loans from the State Bank of India. As in Shaikh’s case, Patel’s parents were heavily involved in helping him secure the loan.“The first thing the bank looks at is, is the parent capable of taking care of the loan?” Patel said. “Then they look at the prospects of the degree, your grades, and so forth.”Patel does not need to repay his loan until he finds a job. But if a year or two after graduation he is still unemployed, according to a timetable set by the bank, the parent who serves as guarantor will have to pay back the loan.The situation can be different for students from other countries. Haowang Wong, a graduate student in electrical engineering and president of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association, said foreign students might appear to lack financial need because [United States] higher education has an “only the rich need apply” image.Though study abroad loans exist in China, Wong said students hesitate to use them.“Most Chinese people wouldn’t borrow money from other people,” Wong said. “If they can afford it, they’ll come to the U.S., but if not, then they won’t.”Wong also noted that cultural inclinations can sometimes get in the way.“Chinese students won’t [tell] you if they don’t have money because it’s a sensitive topic,” Wong said.For some international students, cultural taboos against borrowing because of the sheer difficulty of obtaining a loan mean their attendance at USC depends on scholarship availability.Ting Lye, a junior studying business administration and neuroscience, is a Malaysian citizen who applied from the United Kingdom.“I couldn’t borrow money from England,” Lye said. “For Malaysia, it was pretty hard because I didn’t do any of my schooling there.”Lye ultimately selected USC because it offered merit-based scholarships, unlike Ivy League universities.Rebecca Petersen, an adviser in the Office of International Services, said cases like Lye’s and Shaikh’s are common.“It’s not a matter of their attitudes toward loans, but their access to them,” she said.last_img read more