Monthly Archives: March 2021

Electrical Contractor Industry Affected by Labor Shortages

Now that construction activity is starting to ramp up again following the COVID-19 pandemic, a familiar issue is facing the industry: labor shortages.

Total hires and job openings within the industry as of Dec. 31, 2020 were down slightly from 2019 before the pandemic forced shutdowns and industry layoffs. The 2020 Marcum JOLTS Analysis showed that the number of job openings was equal to 2.6 percent of available construction jobs, meaning there were 195,000 unfilled positions.

The report’s authors wrote, “When the pandemic began, some thought (and hoped) that the massive job losses observed in March and April would mitigate the skilled labor shortages that have frustrated construction firms for years. That simply hasn’t happened to any meaningful degree.”

Thirteen thousand more workers quit their construction jobs than those who were laid off or discharged by their employers as of December 31.

Wages in the employees’ market are also rising; average hourly earnings for construction employees reached their highest level on record: $32.11 in January 2021. Moreover, average weekly hours worked rose to peak level since 2019’s third quarter.

“This is what might be expected from a strong economy operating under normal circumstances, not one facing a lingering pandemic and elevated unemployment,” the report said.

Certain regions are concentrated areas for job openings within the industry. “Parts of the U.S. like the Southeast, Texas, Colorado, and segments of the Mid-Atlantic region have surging residential marketplaces and reasonably stable levels of nonresidential activity. Other areas, like the Northeast and certain parts of the Midwest, where much of the industry’s job losses have occurred and where population has been stagnant or declining for years, are home to an abundance of unemployed construction workers,” the report stated. 

As the pandemic continues to subside, there are three things to watch according to the report:

  1. Whether construction workers who quit/laid off will return
  2. Whether nonresidential construction will rebound like the residential sector
  3. Whether public construction will continue

For all of your electrical construction needs, contact the experts at J&P electrical today.

J&P Electrical is a full-service electrical equipment company. At J&P, we supply contractors, end-users, and supply houses with new surplus, quality reconditioned, and obsolete electrical equipment. We also purchase a wide range of electrical equipment such as bus plugs, ducts, panel switches, substations, and transformers. Call us at 877-844-5514 or visit us at https://www.jpelectricalcompany.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Artificial Intelligence Could Be Answer for Mass Power Outages

While some hospitals were forced to use snow water to flush toilets, some homeowners used fence wood as firewood to heat their homes. The power outages in Texas and the southeast wreaked havoc on the area, creating a tragic situation that consequently pushed the nation’s fragile energy grids into the spotlight.

Energy planning has become somewhat of a pipe dream thanks to unexpected cold fronts, heat waves, snowstorms, fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, and flooding. These natural disasters cause power fluctuations and unpredictable availability of green energy sources.

While solutions are varied and complex, Artificial Intelligence (AI) can optimize energy distribution across the grid and is aimed to help the utilities instantly know how much of what type of energy to deliver where.

In Texas, grid operators planned a worst-case scenario where 67GW of electricity was used. As the cold front swooped in, the state rapidly used that energy. The unusually freezing weather deactivated green energy sources and fossil fuels alike, such as thermal power plants, windmills, gas-powered generators, and more. While reserves were quickly depleted, temperatures plummeted, forcing energy demand to spike, which caused rolling blackouts across Texas.

AI technology exists and can help utilities manage energy distribution and demand, preventing rolling blackouts. Nationwide, we should be investing in alternative fuels, grid optimization, and resilience to avoid millions of people being affected by fragile systems.

With AI-based grid modeling happening in real-time, alternative power sources could be ready when needed. These sources could stem from other states, autonomous microgrids, or behind-the-meter battery storage. These systems can continuously learn the environment and clean energy sources on the grid, updating when necessary.

Millions of data points can be continuously collected by AI, predicting the weather, supply, demand, energy prices, etc. This data is useful in building optimal energy models for grid devices such as solar inverters, batteries, wind turbines, and more. These models can be used by utility providers to effectively dispatch energy and control clean energy sources.

In areas that need critical services, such as hospitals, schools, police, and fire departments, these microgrids would always have power, even if disconnected from the primary grid.

Beyond emergencies, AI can be used to process massive amounts of real-time data for ongoing energy management for utility services. This will enable them to route energy to residences and businesses efficiently, reliably, and at the most cost-effective price. With AI, real-time weather, load forecasting, economics, rules, and grid learning can be implemented, which would otherwise be too difficult for people to make, let alone execute.

J&P Electrical is a full-service electrical equipment company. At J&P, we supply contractors, end-users, and supply houses with new surplus, quality reconditioned, and obsolete electrical equipment. We also purchase a wide range of electrical equipment such as bus plugs, ducts, panel switches, substations, and transformers. Call us at 877-844-5514 or visit us at https://www.jpelectricalcompany.com.Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com