Thirty-nine states added construction jobs between August 2018 and August 2019, while construction employment increased in 29 states from July to August, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of Labor Department. Montana was not one of them.

Association officials said that construction workforce shortages may have kept more states from adding construction jobs this past month.

“Even more states probably would have posted gains in construction employment if firms could find enough people to hire,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “They are finding most craft positions hard to fill, even though average pay in construction pays is higher than the all-industry average in nearly every state.”

Texas added the most construction jobs over the year (43,900 jobs, 5.9 percent), followed by California (34,300 jobs, 4.0 percent), Florida (20,900 jobs, 3.8 percent), and Arizona (15,400 jobs, 9.7 percent). North Dakota added the highest percentage of construction jobs over 12 months (12.1 percent, 3,100 jobs), followed by Nevada (11.7 percent, 10,500 jobs), Arizona, and New Mexico (9.2 percent, 4,300 jobs). Construction employment reached a record high in Nebraska and Texas.

Ten states shed construction jobs over the latest 12 months, while employment was flat in Mississippi. Louisiana lost the largest number and percentage of construction jobs (-10,100 jobs, -6.6 percent). Other states with large job losses include Ohio (-3,600 jobs, -1.6 percent), Maryland (-1,600 jobs, -1 percent), Vermont (-1,000 jobs, -6.6 percent) and Connecticut (-1,000 jobs, -1.7 percent). Other states with a substantial percentage decline include Vermont, Montana (-2.1 percent, -600 jobs), Connecticut, and Ohio.

Spectrum, 2499 King Ave W Ste C, 59102, 888-406-7063, Mark Hatzenbuehler, retail sales

Pop Up Place, 2101 Grand Ave Ste 4, 59102, 697-7869, Monica Maristuen, service

Live Natural, 536 Avenue B, 59102, 530-9968, Jacinius Fenmore, retail sales

Three Sisters LTD, LLC, 915 N 32nd St, 59101, 698-3375, Luke Duray, service

Venegas & Sons Drywall, 215 N 18th St, 59101, 694-4504, Everardo Venegas, general contractor

 PCl Home Repairs, 2408 Terry Ave, 59102, 671-2087, Paul Law, service

Lynn Contracting, 4315 Rio Vista Dr, 59106, 698-3723, Diane Hooker, general contractors

The Damage Detector, 3707 crater Lake Ave, 59102, 661-0929, Brandon Anderson, service

Bartlett Homes and Roofing, 1307 Maple grove Rd, Boise ID 83709, 208-286-4187, Nathan Nipper, general contractors

The Hail Stop, 1601 Central Ave, 59102, 200-0195, Jason Smith, service

Premier Exteriors, 17061 Independent Lane, 59105, 591-5894, Scott Gleason, general contractors

Accelerated Growth, LLC, 2012 Virginia Ln, 59102, 694-2708, Laverne Bass, retail sales

C-Mar Construction, 22 7th St W, 59101, 606-2076, Corven Marquardson, general contractors

Atka LLC, 2727 41st W, 59106, 794-2171, Lee Hanson/Annie Larson,  general contractors

White River Janitorial & Security, Bird Chief St, Busby 59016, 861-6401, Irvin Rising Sun Jr, service

Pollard & Son Painting & drywall, 5400 Midland Rd, 59101, 702-324-2035, Jeffrey Pollard, service

Hail One, 849 1st Ave N, 59101, 855-442-4587, Jack Hout, service

Father and Son Construction, 243 Valley Green, Jordan MN 55352, 612-802-4157, Efrain Bonilla, general contractors

All Around Roofing and Exteriors Montana, LLC, 1511 6th Ave N, 59101, 405-7663, Ryan Sanchez, roofing contractor

PYG of Montana LLC, 17061 Independent Ln, 59105, 690-6966, Guadalupe Garcia/Pedro Juarez, general contractors

JJM Contractors LLC, 4050 Deer trail, 59105, 671-8087, Jamie Muus, general contractors

Big Sky Mobile Lube, 21 Hemlock Dr 314, 59101, 598-8287, Nicole James, service

Hupka Construction, 607 Avenue F #6, 59102, 606-9314, Rhett Hupka, general contractors

Sitting Pretty, 1430 Country Manor Blvd Ste #6, 59102, 561-7707, Sandra Tinajero, service

Sunlight Cleaning Service, 1069 Hannon Dr, 59101, 670-4978, Kelly Mochr, service

Dynamic Roofing and Construction, 2305 Arapahoe Rd Ste 220, Centennial CO 80122, 303-794-4919, Jed Sybrowsky, general contractors

Davaco LP, 4050 Valley View Lane Ste 150, Irving TX 75038, 214-373-4700, Jason Melvin, general contractors

Big Dog Fitness, 718 N 22nd St, 59101, 461-8095, Jacob Smith, service

Bach Land Development LLC, 11650 S State St, Draper UT 84020, 801-727-9500, James McLauighlin, general contractors

Monkey See, Monkey Do, 1531 Yellowstone Ave, 59102, 200-4350, Crystal Ostlund, service

Trophy Class Solutions, 1031 Harvard Ave, 59102, 465-9281, Tyler Jones, general contractors

Kleinsasser Construction, 118 N 7th St, Custer 59024, 839-5029, Paul Kleinsasser, general contractors

Dave’s Restoration, 3830 Osness Rd, Shepherd 59079, 696-5854, David Wigren, general contractors

Bonilla Services, 400 Moccasin Tr, 59105, 539-9440, Froilan Bonilla Jordan, service

Yellowstone Resources Inc, 3110 Cel Ave, 59102, 259-5050, Brian Harvey, service

Nathaniel Hanser Construction, 16636 Montana, Broadview 59015, 860-2795, Nathaniel Hanser, general contractors

Billings Boys Roofing, 3914 Lasso Ln, 59105, 698-3514, Kyle Kring, general contractors

KNX Distributing, 2215 7th Ave N, 59101, 316-208-3784, Bo Nelson, service

Helping Hands Construction, 530 W 47th St S, Wichita KS 67217, 316-208-3784, Matthew Smith-Wilson, general contractors

Patriot Heating and Cooling LLC, 501 Roundhouse Dr, Laurel 59044, 272-2292, Jason Linday, service

Seaton Construction, 7648 Pinto Dr, Shepherd 59079, 671-9969, Jim Seaton, general contractors

Particular Cleaning, 2905 Lynnwood Cir, 59012, 200-4182, Truthe West Leah Crawford, service

matt’s Auto Body, 4310 State Ave, 59101, 690-6571, Matthew Rukstad, auto business

E&C Horizons,  920 N 24th St, 59101, 208-8446, Edward Biessener, general contractors

Dhekness Distributing LLC, 2215 7th Ave N, 59101, 876-3630, Dave Ekness, distributors

Fly Girl Cheesecurds, 13 Nimitz Dr, 59101, 924695, Lia Munson, restaurants

SMW Designs, 8955 Lynn Ave, 59106, 698-7246, Keith Wetmore, retail sales

We Fix Hail Damage LLC – Auto, 2315 4th Ave N, 59101, 206-9711, Damon Kirtland, service

We Fix Hail Damage LLC – Home, 2315 4th Ave N, 59101, 206-9711, Damon Kirtland,  general contractors

Jeremy Talen Contracting, 1024 Claremore Ln, 59105, 839-6858, Jeremy Talen, general contractors

Z&B, 1229 Avenue F, 59102, 894-0936, Bobbi Rae Zavala Jr, general contractors

Tango Marketing, 1310 Division St, 59101, 697-2777, Arielle Perry, retail sales

Montana Home and Habitat, 1105 Parkhill Dr, 59102, 949-525-7585, Herbert Jeffrey Hunt, service

 MacDonald Steel Exteriors Inc, 5217 Clemson Dr, 59106, 855-2320, Hugh MacDonald, general contractors

Borders Construction, 129 Washington St, 59101, 307-254-0078, Schyler Borders, general contractors

Colorado Roofing Contractors LLC, 4955 Miller St Ste 200, Wheatridge CO 80033, 720-833-8396, Steve Dye, roofing contractors

Evergreen Ace Hardware, 1540 13th St W, 59102, Charles King, general contractors

Red Roan LLC, 4315 Rio Vista Dr, 59106, 661-1297, Chad Hooker, general contractors

E&L Builders, 644 Cook Ave, 59101, 307-267-5581, Erik Gallo, general business

Red Springs Construction & Roofing, 2995 Pass Creek Rd, Wyola 59089, 679-1521, Joseph Stewart, general contractors

A & M Communications, PO Box 175, Boring OR 97009, 563-639-0643, Brian Rasmussen, service

Robert Roofing, 544 Pemberton, 59105, 861-4004, Robert Brunner, roofing contractor

 CM Burdine Contracting & Repair, 11 Sunrise Dr, Roundup 59072, 350-2711, Chris Burdine, general contractors

Scott Long, 19 Heather Dr, 59105, 860-8164, Scott Long, general contractors

Harris Homes, 2936 Millice Ave, 59102, 927-2301, Justion Harris, general contractors

Noble & No Bull Contracting LLC, 4717 Vandaveer Rd, 59101, 694-9266, Jason Hein, general contractors

C&C Community Inc, 307 S Billings Blvd, 59101, 200-3260, C&C Community Inc, mobile home courts

MRC Industrial Contractor, 4030 Tall Pine Dr, Marietta GA 30062, 303-919-2460, Michael Harrick, general contractors

Thomas Construction & Welding, 118 Porcupine Ridge, Roberts 59070, 670-1977, Thomas Eastlick, service

Eagle Distributing LLC, 2215 7th Ave N, 59101, 855-2429, Christopher Stene, distributors

WC Commercial LLC, 316 N 26th St, 59101, 690-1394, Joseph Holden, service

The Man Shop, 1313 Grand Ave Ste 1, 59102, 509-325-5049, Michael Howe, barber

B. Leaf Aesthetic Clinic, 223 Shiloh Rd Ste 3, 59106, 672-8683, Jayme Tripp, service

Slade Roofing, 1925 Grand Ave Ste 127, 59102, 384-7227, Tyler Slade, roofing contractors

HPC Enterprises, 1002 4th St W, Roundup 59072, 855-2687, Harold Charlton, general contractors

Elevated Home Craftyers Inc, 1348 Main St, 59105, 208-0799, Justin Wagner, general contractors

Sachulmoon Siding, 207 N 22nd St, 59101, 706-983-0761, Sachul Moon, service

Exterior technologies, 501 2nd Ave, Laurel 59044, 812-2211, Brandon Arthur, general contractors

The Sophisticated Raven, 2704 Cook Ave, 59102, 694-2382, Janna Rozett, retail sales

Sierra Williams Photography, 5248 Encampment Trail, Acton 59002, 861-8526, Sierra Williams, service

Frontline Consultants and Contracting, 1925 Grand Ave Ste 115, 59102, 899-7663, Cody Brewster, general contractors

Resolved Exteriors, 616 Clark Ave, 59101, 208-1815, James Gilbert, general contractors

Montana Maid Interior Clean, 4710 Stone St, 59101, 618-841-0532, Angela Stump, service

Legacy Communications, 1600 Bench Rd, Three Forks 59752, 599-8936, Tyson Irish, general contractors

Steve Jones Construction, 115 E Beall, Bozeman 59715, 539-1627, Steve Jones, general contractors

Apex Steam Cleaning, 3425 Pebble Brook Dr, 59101, 671-1029, Hiram Wilder, service

Jerry Replogle, 3055 beech Ave, 59102, 671-8408, Jerry Replogle, general contractors

The Beat Ballroom Company, 1212 Grand Ave Ste 10C, 59102, 208-520-3905, Arica Lipp, service

The Artistic Lens, 2814 2nd Ave N, 59101, 208-520-3905, Arica Lipp, service

Cobb Environmental & Technical Services, 871 South green St, Tupelo MS 38804, 662-841-0995, Maggie Goolsby, service

Jacobson Knox Holdings Inc, 404 N 31st St, 59101, 252-3189, Steve Jacobson, service

Wild Rose Management, 6948 Pony Circle, Shepherd 59079, 425-870-5789, Whitney Huleatt, service

Madison Communications of GA, 2550 Sandy plains Rd Ste 225-330, Marietta GA 30066, 770-541-6010, Chris James, service

Lazy RT Construction Inc, 6 Montana St, Roundup 59072, 839-5130, Heather Therriault, general contractors

Dolinski’s Custom Cabinetry, 121 Sugar Ave Suite A, 59101, 200-4979, Marl Dolinski, general contractors

I-Maid in Montana, 1126 N 22nd St, 59101, 208-5714, Shelly Jacobsen, service

Robert Tremblay, 3314 1st Ave N 327, 59101, 321-2391, Robert Tremblay, service

Montana MVD Express, 900 S 24th St W, 59102, 371-2000, Janice Lucero, service

JTL group, 730 Bluegrass Pl, 59106, 208-0718, Joel T Long, service

Iris salon, 1579 Mullowney Ln, 59101, 534-6639, Teresa Lundeen, cosmetology

Benchmark Window & Door, 2950 king Ave W #2, 59102, 969-1491, Jennifer Emineth, retail sales

Relax Massage, 111 S 24th St W #3, 59102, 626-731-8898, Lin Xiu Jin, service

Big Sky Estimation & Admin, 1615 Fantan St Unit 12, 59102, 208-2381, Keoni Momohara,

Handy Jack Home Improvement LLC, 704 Joyce St, 59105, 460-1677, Brandon Mckamey, general contractors

Mountain Valley Construction Enterprise, 335 Nubias Pl, 59105, 928-451-6820, Joshua Scott, service

Five Star Painting, 4400 Wheat Ridge Rd, Molt 59057, 907-312-3979, Kirk Swanson

TKD Inventory Service, 18 JB Stetson St, 59106, 656-0340, Tim Daellenbach, service

Paul Willett Enterprises, 3519 king Ave E, 59101, 661-3342, Paul Willett, service

Cross Roads Inspection Services, 1257 Gardenia Dr, 59105, 671-4750, Kirk Wehmeyer, service

Wenjen Custom Resurfacing LLC, 2701 Enterprise Ave, 59102, 534-4020, Jennifer Jacobs, service

Otis little Snow Removal & Stuff, 81 gold Pan Ln, 59105, 371-3805, Mike Galarneau, service

Grizzly Machine LLC, 1559 Mullowney Ln, 59101, 661-9364, Sydney Tuss & Christopher Gaudino, service

CF Custom Roofing LLC, 4145 S Adams, Fort Worth TX 76115, 817-822-6961, Christian Fuentes, roofing contractor

Cornerstone Home Leading Inc (17th St W), 1460 17th St W, 59102, 672-7810, Lucila Bernal, banl/loan agencies

Hawkin Systems LLC, 4635 Harvest Ln, 591036, 670-6002, Eric Finstad, retail sales

Lesion, 1840 Virginia Ln, 59102, 861-6137, Lenity Martinson, cosmetology

Hair by Amy, 1840 Virginia Ln, 59102, 670-8708, Amy Précis, cosmetology

Yellowstone Valley Construction, 5812 red Sox Way, 59101, 850-7826, Chad Eggebrecht, general contractors

Miller Construction, 716 N 15th St #10, 59101, 561-9494, Todd Miller, general contractors

Visser Builds, 3405 Lovers Ln, 59105, 850-4321, Kirk Visser, general contractors

“Rmosa LLC, 2525 Minnesota Ave, 59101, 209-6382, Oneida Eudave Smiley, service

Loving Hands Homecare, 3075 Ave C #3302, 59102, 690-4466, Carrie Swanson, service

Wanner Roofing, 365 Sahara Dr, 59105, 861-1428, Russell Wanner, roofing contractor

Digital Design Dental Labs, 1690 Rimrock rd Ste F, 59102, 281-8993, Matthew & Teresa Larsen, manufacturing

Armored Roofing LLC, 1236 Harvard Ave, 59102, 598-6484, Alonso Popejoy-Shinchock, roofing contractors

Kerry’s Classic Cleaners, 928 Broadwater Ste 208, 598-5019, Kerry Schillinger, service

N 14 restoration LLC, 6731 Narcossee Rd Ste 1120, Orlando FL 32822, 208-4762, Valentin Molina, roofing contractors

Terry’s Roofing & General Contracting, 4339 Phillip St, 59101, 690-3644, Melvin Terry, general contractors

Even though they hoped it might have been less, about 50 percent of respondents who participated in the Billings Chamber of Commerce’s survey said they have been impacted by the presence and activities of street people, said Daniel Brooks at a townhall style meeting about public safety at the Northern Hotel on Oct. 2. Ten percent said that they have been impacted “a lot,” said Brooks, who is the Chamber’s Business Advocacy Manager.

That so many people believe the problem is impacting their lives and businesses, was undoubtedly the reason that so many attended what was billed as a public safety meeting, sponsored by the Chamber and several downtown businesses, such as Buchanan Capital and the Northern Hotel. Easily some 200 people were in attendance – almost as many as attended a November 2018 meeting, which first broached the issue.

Stories abound throughout the city from citizens about encounters they have had with homeless people, panhandlers, and vagrants on city streets. Some are just “party goers” who see Billings as their “Las Vegas,” pointed out Chief of Police Rich St. John – they are not homeless. But, encounters with them, often leave shoppers and employees and visitors feeling uneasy and vulnerable.

As a case in point, a few days after the townhall meeting, a discussion among department heads in county government unveiled concerns from county employees about being accosted by people on the streets. It most commonly happens during the hours that employees are coming to work or going home, said Justice of the Peace David Carter, in asking county commissioners what could be done about it.

After finding out that most of the incidents are not reported, Sheriff Mike Linder, who was also present, said that that was the most important thing they could do. They need to report each incident to law enforcement.

Discussion continued about placing video cameras at the county’s parking lot.

Knowing that they are being videoed in any given area does discourage vagrants from loitering, said a business man, but there are a lot of other – usually less expensive things that property owners and business people can do that help. Pursuing those things is the primary focus of the strategy of civic leaders in Billings.

Simple things like cleaning up litter, cutting weeds and trimming bushes, cleaning windows and improving lighting are first-line defense that is part of what is called Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED).

Attending the December meeting was a representative of Vantage Point, a Bozeman –based firm, that offers CPTED consulting services.

A number of Billings’ citizens are volunteering to get the training needed to assist property and business owners to assess their sites and develop a plan on what improvements are needed to reduce the risk of crime. Brooks said that he is going to take the training, and others in law enforcement and leadership are doing likewise.

Those in attendance at the town hall meeting were encouraged to seek the help of the trained consultants, which will to be made available at no charge through the Downtown Billings Alliance (DBA).

It was also announced that a $25,000 fund is being established to help property owners to make improvements that will improve customer and employee safety, on a one-to-one match basis, up to $3000.

Sean Lynch, owner of Pub Station, who served on a discussion panel during the public safety meeting, related his experience in improving his property. “First thing you should do is wake up at 2 or 3 am and take a look at your business at that hour. I think you will be surprised.”

Thinking his property was in pretty good shape, Lynch said he was surprised with what he found at that hour. He found things that needed to be improved and having made those relatively inexpensive improvements has made a big difference in pedestrian traffic for his business.

His mid-night visit revealed that three lights were out. After engaging some artists to help spruce up the alley, he realized that there actually needed to be more lighting. “Now,” he said, “people can walk in the alley and feel comfortable.”

The grassroots strategy requires citizens to pursue solutions themselves rather than expecting someone else to “take care of it.” That is in essence the approach the community is taking in pursuing the ideas of CPTED – rather than expecting city or county government or someone else to solve the problem.

As part of individuals assuming more responsibility, Chief St. John pointed out that there are taverns and bars that “over serve.” He warned that it is the server’s responsibility to know when to stop serving an individual.

Lynch supported the Chief’s comments saying, “Every business owner can do better.” He suggested that employees need more training.

Continued St. John, “We need to stop enabling people. It is a very complex problem, but we can manage the problem; we can’t cure it.”

That does not mean however that the city and county aren’t focused on what can be done to improve the situation.

Despite having added 100 beds to the jail, the facility is already over-crowded and more additions will have to be considered in the future, said Sheriff Linder, but he emphatically added that it is not true that people who should be in jail are not being incarcerated. “If they need to be there we will find a place for them,” he said.

Linder compared Billings to Boise, Idaho which added to its jail, “same as we did.” While Billings is generally pushing an inmate population of over 500, Boise typically has over a thousand. “This isn’t Mayberry anymore,” said Linder, “One day we will be the Boise of Montana.”

The City of Billings is closely examining the prospects of putting another safety mill levy before voters in order to increase the number of police officers. For its population Billings is 28 policemen short compared to other cities of the same size, said Chief St. John.

“Enforcement is robust here,” said St. John, “but added resources allows us to do much more.” Just a police presence makes all the difference. “When you make it uncomfortable and undesirable to be in a place, they are going to move on.”

City Administrator Chris Kukulski pointed out that in comparison to other cities, “Billings residents pay the least for services and that is showing up as being the least- safe community. It will cost more money to get us out of the place we are in.”

“We can’t afford to be the least -safe community,” he added.

On Sept. 12, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers announced the repeal of the controversial 2015 “Waters of the U.S.” rule, which dramatically expanded federal authority beyond traditional interpretations of the Clean Water Act. The EPA and Corps also announced the finalization of a replacement rule that brings consistency and clarity to how regulable waters are defined in the Clean Water Act.

The issue has been an important one for Montana agriculture and others concerned about water rights.

“I applaud the Trump Administration, EPA, and Corps of Engineers for finalizing a Waters of the U.S. rule that respects the role of the states in managing land and water resources,” said Montana Attorney General Tim Fox said. “In 2015, I and other state attorneys general led the charge in halting President Obama’s rule, which appeared to be more about grabbing power than protecting water. This time, the federal government listened to the people who will be directly impacted and crafted a proposal that makes it much easier to understand and apply the Clean Water Act in Montana.”

With the support of the Montana Farm Bureau Federation, Montana Stockgrowers Association, Montana Association of Counties, Montana Chamber of Commerce, and others, Attorney General Fox led a group of 13 states to file suit against the 2015 rule. The legal challenge was ultimately successful in halting implementation of the rule. In 2017, the federal government began the process of rescinding the 2015 rule and drafting a replacement.