June 15, 2004 A PRIMEDIA Property Vol. III No. 11
CONTENTS
Unemployment Rate on the Rise for Electrical Engineers

U.S. Construction Employment Sets Record in May

A/E/P Firms Charging More For Their Services

NEMA Plans to Adopt IEC Standard on Enclosures

Dublin City Authority Announces Call for Bids for Design and Construction

Expansion Program Underway at St. Louis Lambert Airport

BICSI Spring Meeting: Telecom Comes Together on the Internet

Eye on Safety

SkillsUSA-VICA National Leadership and Skills Conference

NSPE 2004 Annual Convention

Power Quality Exhibition and Conference

Applied Power Electronics Conference


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    Around the Circuit
    Unemployment Rate on the Rise for Electrical Engineers
    The electrical engineering unemployment rate increased nearly 18% from 4.5% in the fourth quarter of 2003 to 5.3% in the first quarter of 2004, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of employed electrical engineers also continued to decline from 386,000 in the second quarter of last year to 327,000 in the first quarter of 2004. These statistics show that times are tough for engineers, says John Steadman, president of the IEEE-USA. "The continued shrinkage of the electrical and electronics engineering workforce should send up warning flags that the United States may be losing ground in its technological competitiveness," Steadman says.


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    U.S. Construction Employment Sets Record in May
    While employment figures are down for engineers, things are looking up for the construction industry, which has tripled the 1% employment gain for the overall economy by adding 194,000 jobs since May 2003, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS reported that employment in the construction industry reached a record of 6,909,000 jobs in May. Over the past year, employment has increased 2.8% for the construction of buildings, 2.5% for heavy and civil engineering construction, and 3% for the specialty trades. The Department of Labor also reported that the employment of electrical contractors posted a year-over-year gain of 1% and a month-over-month percentage change of .8%.

    A/E/P Firms Charging More For Their Services
    Architecture, engineering, and environmental consulting firms increased their hourly billing rates an average of 16% over the past five years, according to ZweigWhite. About 6% of that increase has occurred in the past year, according to the firm's report titled "2004 Fee and Billing Survey of A/E/P and Environmental Consulting Firms." The Natick, Mass.-based management consulting and information firm reviewed 29 employee positions for the report. Hourly billing rates for designers and senior planners increased as much as 35%, while electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, and senior scientists reported the lowest percentage increase of less than 10% over their 2000 rate.

    NEMA Plans to Adopt IEC Standard on Enclosures
    The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) will adopt an IEC standard on the classification of enclosures for electrical equipment up to 72.5kV. IEC 60529 provides definitions for degrees of protection provided by enclosures of electrical equipment, designations for these degrees of protection, requirements for each designation, and tests that need to be performed to ensure that the enclosure meets the standard's requirements. NEMA plans to complete the adoption process of the IEC standard by the end of 2004.


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    Project Watch
    Dublin City Authority Announces Call for Bids for Design and Construction
    The City of Dublin and the County of Laurens Development Authority is accepting competitive sealed proposals for the design and construction of the Waldrep Spec Building in Dublin, Ga. The scope of work includes a 10,000-square-foot addition to the existing building, interior building improvements, and storm water retention design, permitting, monitoring, and construction. The bids are due at 5 p.m. on July 9 at 1200 Bellevue Ave., Dublin, Laurens County, GA 31040. For more information, read the bid notice.

    Expansion Program Underway at St. Louis Lambert Airport
    St. Louis is currently expanding its international airport to meet the needs of travelers. Lambert Airport is in the first phase of its expansion program, which is scheduled to cost more than $1 billion. Lambert will acquire more than 1,500 acres of land to increase the size of the airport by more than 50%. Many airport support operations will move into new facilities due to the expansion, new roads will be constructed, and a new third parallel runway will be located west of the existing airport facility. Lambert plans to award about $450 million in design and construction projects as part of the expansion program. For more information on the upcoming projects, visit the Lambert Web site.


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    Zone Exclusives
    BICSI Spring Meeting: Telecom Comes Together on the Internet
    Convergence is the new buzzword in the telecom world, as cabling, technology, and software improvements now promise to make the possibility of blending voice and data on one network a reality. Senior Editorial Consultant Joe Knisley reports in from the BICSI Spring Meeting. Visit the EC&M Web site for the full story.

    Eye on Safety
    The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 created not only the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), but also the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). NIOSH, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provides research, education, and training in the field of occupational safety and health. To study the risk factors for falls, which is one of the major causes of fatalities in the construction industry, the organization has developed virtual reality technology to simulate elevated workplaces. To learn more about the group's research on construction, visit the NIOSH Web site.

    Shows and Events
    SkillsUSA-VICA National Leadership and Skills Conference
    Veteran electricians will judge the handiwork of electrical students at the 40th annual national SkillsUSA Championships June 21-25 in Kansas City, Mo. The gold medalists from the state level will compete for national awards in Residential Wiring, Industrial Motor Controls, and Telecommunications Cabling. More than 4,000 students will compete in 77 contests at the SkillsUSA competition, which receives $25 million in contributions from industry and education in donated time, equipment, and material. To learn more about the event, visit the SkillsUSA Web site.

    NSPE 2004 Annual Convention
    Learn how to improve your writing and communications skills and become an effective leader at the 2004 National Society of Professional Engineers conference from July 8-10 at the Renaissance Ilikai Waikiki Hotel in Oahu, Hawaii. Attendees will not only have the opportunity to network with other engineers and attend continuing education seminars, but they'll also be able to help build the Honolulu Habitat for Humanity house, take an island tour, or go to a Hawaiian luau. For more information and to register online, visit the NSPE Web site.

    Power Quality Exhibition and Conference
    The Aug. 14 blackout made businesses recognize their vulnerability to power interruptions and increased the demand for power quality professionals who can help provide the right products and solutions. The Power Quality Exhibition and Conference from Nov. 16-18 at the Navy Pier in Chicago will feature professional advancement courses, poster sessions, and more than 50 technical paper presentations. For more information, complete an Inquiry Form to receive a brochure or visit the Power Quality Exhibition and Conference Web site.

    Applied Power Electronics Conference
    The Applied Power Electronics Conference (APEC) has announced a call for papers for its 2005 event. APEC, which is sponsored by the Power Electronics Society, the Industry Applications Society, and the Power Sources Manufacturers Association, will take place March 6-10 in Austin. APEC is looking for papers in such technical areas as power factor correction, manufacturing, and power electronics. The deadline for the submission of abstracts is Aug. 9. For more information, visit the APEC Web site.

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