Coherent Identifier About this item: 20.500.12592/k750tq

The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in the US Construction Industry

13 January 2022


“Currently in the single digits industry-wide, the residential sector operates virtually union-free in many trades and regions.”8 Significantly, these union-free cities, primarily in the Sunbelt, are some of the fastest growing in the country.9 The low-road model is not confined to residential construction, however; it has spread into the commercial and industrial sectors as well.10 The decline in. [...] In this brief we will estimate the public cost to the states and the federal government from the use of safety net programs by construction workers and their families as a result of the low-road practices that are becoming more and more commonplace in the industry. [...] The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in the US Construction Industry 4 Table 2 presents the combined annual expenditures by states and the federal government on the safety net programs for construction working families and all working families, again averaged over the years 2015-2019. [...] We calculated the ratio of wage workers to non-incorporated self- employed workers based on the ACS and used it to adjust the OES data for non-incorporated self- employed workers, and then adjusted the employment counts in the ACS to match the adjusted OES data. [...] The analyses, interpretations, conclusions, and views expressed in this brief are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the UC Berkeley Labor Center, the Regents of the University of California, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, or collaborating organizations or funders.