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    Construction NewsBRIEFS! 11/8/2012

    A look at the skills-jobs mismatch finds no evidence that changes in the economy explain high joblessness; the problem is slow growth, according to Edward P. Lazear, chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers (2006-09) and professor at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, in “There Is No ‘Structural’ Unemployment Problem”, from The Wall Street Journal and based on a speech delivered at the Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium on Sept. 1, 2012. Between Nov. 2007 and Oct. 2009, the national unemployment rate rose 4.9 percentage points; 19% of that increase was accounted for by increases in unemployment in construction.

    The fatigued driving BASIC will be changed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to the more specific Hours-of-Service Compliance BASIC to more accurately reflect violations in this area, the agency announced. The change is one of several new improvements to the agency’s Compliance Safety Accountability enforcement program to enable it to more quickly identify and address high-risk truck companies with compliance concerns. The changes, which also include weighting HOS paper and electronic logbook violations equally, will be implemented in Dec. 2012.

    U.S. EPA is continuing to weigh two proposed alternatives of its Coal Combustion Residuals Proposed Rule and whether to designate coal ash as a “hazardous waste” more than two years after the agency first published the rule, according to National Geographic. One would establish mandatory federal regulations and phase out surface impoundments—the type of storage pond at the Tennessee Valley Authority site that collapsed at Kingston in 2008. The second approach would be to classify coal ash as nonhazardous, and leave enforcement to the states. The agency is reviewing the more than 450,000 comments received on the proposed rule and will finalize the rule pending a full evaluation of all the information and comments, according to a spokesman.

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