Prevailing Wage protects taxpayers, strengthens the local economy, and builds ladders to the middle class.

“Prevailing wages help support programs that give people like me the opportunity to go on and live the American Dream.”
– Oscar Garcia, Sacramento Carpenter, Helmets to Hardhats graduate

When it comes to public works, prevailing wage is a proven engine of middle class job creation that promotes the hiring of the most qualified local construction professionals at good paying wages.  In addition, research shows that prevailing wage policies produce greater productivity with fewer costly accidents, mistakes, and other worksite problems.  And because prevailing wage jobs generate $1.50 in economic activity for every dollar spent on a project, they strengthen the local economy and indirectly support tens of thousands of other jobs.[1]

Prevailing wage projects also support local apprenticeship programs like Helmets to Hardhats, which is helping Iraq and Afghanistan veterans acquire the necessary training to re-enter the civilian workforce.  In fact, through training programs supported by prevailing wage policies, communities have seen as many as 1.4 times more women and 4.7 times as many African Americans accessing ladders to the middle class through the construction workforce.[2]

By way of contrast, studies show that when communities don’t pay prevailing wage, they export more tax dollars to out of area firms employing less skilled workers earning rock bottom wages.   This ultimately increases reliance on taxpayer subsidized public assistance programs, deprives communities of the economic benefits that come with keeping more tax dollars local, and puts communities at risk for more costly accidents and mistakes on public works.[3]

To learn more about prevailing wage, click here.

1. Mark Zandy,

2. Economic Policy Brief, April 25, 2011, “Economic, Fiscal and Social Impacts of Prevailing Wage in San Jose, CA.”

3. Alison Dickson Queseda, MUPP, October 7, 2013, “A Weakened State: The Economic and Social Impacts of Repeal of the Prevailing Wage Law in Illinois.”



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