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Report: Construction Boom Fails to Deliver Jobs to District Residents; Strong Hiring Rules Remain Crucial

WASHINGTON, Dec. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Despite a building boom in the District of Columbia, DC residents remain grossly underrepresented on area construction sites. Recently strengthened local hiring rules could reduce the gap, but much remains to be done to implement the new policy. These are among the findings of Taxation without Employment: The Case for the District's Strong Local Hiring Rules, a study published today by Good Jobs First, a non-profit, non-partisan research center based in Washington, DC.

The study is available at www.goodjobsfirst.org/taxationwoutemployment.

The report was commissioned by the Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA).

"The failure of area contractors to employ District residents is shocking," said Thomas Cafcas, researcher at Good Jobs First and author of the report. "With so much money being spent on public works, taxpayer-subsidized real estate development, and job training in the District of Columbia, it's important to ensure that those public investments maximize job creation for the city."

District residents work in construction at less than half the rate of those who live in DC suburbs. If District residents worked in construction at the same level as suburbanites, 11,500 more District residents would be on construction sites, and the District's economy would benefit from an estimated $386 million in additional wages.

Such underrepresentation is not the norm. Just 2.9 percent of all District workers are employed in construction, far fewer than Baltimore, Boston, New York City or Philadelphia.  Yet workers who live in DC suburbs are more likely to be employed in construction than their suburban counterparts in other Northeastern cities.

"This study clearly indicates that the District needs local hiring requirements," said DC Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie (D-Ward 5), Chair of the Council's Committee on Jobs and Workforce Development. "We have more than 30,000 unemployed men and women in the District, including 4,500 Ward 5 residents seeking work. I believe that many are ready to pick up a shovel and get to work – they just need a chance to prove themselves."

Nearly one year ago, Mayor Vincent Gray and the DC City Council strengthened the District's local hiring rules, known as First Source. The evidence suggests that the enhanced First Source law could have a significant impact on unemployment rates in the city. 

Contact Thomas Cafcas 202-232-1616 x 219 or tommy@goodjobsfirst.org

SOURCE Good Jobs First

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