Construction Stimulus Bill Unlikely to Benefit Women, Minorities

September 28, 2010

As Congress contemplates another economic stimulus bill focused on transportation construction, a new report shows that women and minorities are least likely to receive the benefit of those jobs.

The report, "The Road to Good Jobs: Patterns of Employment in the Construction Industry," an expansion of last year's first-ever such study, also notes that building public transit and maintaining highways would create more - and greener - jobs than building highways.

Researchers at the University of Missouri - St. Louis examined minority and female employment in 25 metro areas and found that white males dominate construction work, regardless of the racial and gender makeup of the local workforce as a whole. Overall, the authors calculate that 137,044 black workers are "missing" from the construction workforce in those large metropolitan areas. In other words, if blacks participated in construction at the same rate they participated in all industries, thousands more blacks would be employed in construction.

The 25 metropolitan areas, listed by population, are New York Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, Miami, Washington (DC), Houston, Detroit, Boston, Atlanta, San Francisco, Riverside (CA), Phoenix, Seattle, Minneapolis, San Diego, St. Louis, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Tampa, Denver, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Portland, OR.

"The Road to Good Jobs" offers several proposals to provide millions of Americans with good jobs and create a green economy. The federal government currently spends about $60 billion dollars a year on transportation. The next federal transportation bill, scheduled for reauthorization in 2009, provides an opportunity to ensure that transportation spending does the most to stimulate the economy while providing good jobs to the people that most need them